GM Byrnes happy with what's he's got

GM Byrnes happy with what's he's got

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Nearing his third Opening Day as the Diamondbacks general manager, Josh Byrnes has probably had his easiest spring in baseball. Arizona's starting lineup and rotation are pretty well in place, and its bench and bullpen may be as strong as any it has started a season with.

He's managed to get to the clubhouse turn of the Cactus League season without the pressure of any overriding needs or questions that can't be answered from within the D-backs system.

"Obviously, we're scouting the other teams and talking to our guys to stay on top of it, but we're not actively looking outside," Byrnes said before the D-backs took on the Mariners in Peoria Wednesday night. "To the extent that we have a few injuries now, we feel very good about our internal guys stepping in there. We're getting to the point where we're finally getting ready to start the season."

Even last season, when the Diamondbacks surprised baseball by reversing three straight losing seasons and winning the National League West, March was a month of searching and puzzling the pieces into place right up to the start of the season.

This year, if anybody's looking, it's other clubs who are looking at the depth of Arizona's roster to see if they can fill a need with a late spring deal.

"There's a lot of wait and see this year, as always, with guys on a lot of teams that are out of options," Byrnes acknowledge. "That usually is a topic of discussion with all 30 clubs at this time of the year. But it's 12 months of the year. We spend a lot of time talking to the other clubs and just staying on top of what they're looking for. It's probably not as active as it has been in previous Marches."

Without any glaring needs to fill, Byrnes does not feel compelled to squander the team's greatest resource, its depth.

"We'll probably hold what we've got," Byrnes said. "I just feel like you can almost never have too much depth, particularly pitching depth. We have a good chance at having a very good Triple-A pitching staff. I'm sure if history holds, we'll use several of those guys to try to win."

Spring Training
News and features:
• D-backs voice Munn on Unit, Upton  400K
• Gilbert on Unit's debut  400K
• Young on commentary  400K
• D-backs on expectations  400K
Spring Training info: coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

With a spring largely free of the need to look outside the organization, Byrnes has taken advantage of the opportunity to evaluate exactly what the D-backs have in waiting in the Minors. One of the startling surprises of the spring has been 20-year-old Venezuelan Gerardo Parra, entering his fourth year in the organization after spending most of last season at Class A South Bend before moving up to high-Class A Visalia.

Parra has a .333 average in three Minor League seasons, and hit .643 (9-for-14) with a homer and two RBIs in eight Cactus League games.

"He's obviously a little ways away, but he's had a great spring and made a great impression," Byrnes said.

"And a lot of the new guys we brought in have done a really nice job," Byrnes added. "Juan Gutierrez is throwing tonight. He's certainly competing to try to get on our staff and be in the mix, and he's made a very good impression."

It's been that kind of spring for Byrnes and the D-backs, with most of the surprises of the pleasant variety, and the questions coming from pushing into that unfamiliar realm of having too much of a good thing.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.