USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that Arizona has fired general manager and executive vice-president Josh Byrnes, as well as manager A.J. Hinch. Jerry DiPoto, the team's vice-president of player personnel, will be the interim general manager while Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com tweets that bench coach Kirk Gibson has been promoted to manager.
Byrnes was hired by Arizona in October 2005, and the team recorded a 349-378 mark under his stewardship. Following the club's 2007 NLCS appearance, Byrnes signed an eight-year contract extension that would've kept him in the desert through 2015. According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, that extension included a small ownership stake in the Diamondbacks. ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter) predicts that the highly-respected Byrnes will be out of work for "0.2 seconds" since another team will hire him as a consultant while the Snakes pay out his existing contract.
Hired on May 8, 2009 to replace Bob Melvin, Hinch amassed an 89-123 record with the D'Backs in his first stint as a major league manager. We heard a few weeks ago that Byrnes was "fighting hard" to save Hinch's job, and Fanhouse.com's Ed Price reports (via Twitter) that Byrnes was fired for refusing a demand from upper management to make a managerial change.
Conor Jackson's trade to Oakland was the first of many moves expected from the underachieving Snakes, though the team stopped short of saying that an outright fire sale would take place. It remains to be seen if this perspective will change with DiPoto now running the team. The club will definitely pay a price for the firings — Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the D'Backs owe more than $7MM to cover Byrnes' deal and Hinch's contract, which ran through 2012.
Gibson, best known for his walkoff homer in Game One of the 1988 World Series, has been Arizona's bench coach since 2007. He previously served as a bench coach and hitting coach for the Tigers, though this is Gibson's first time managing on any level. DiPoto, also a former player, has been a member of the Arizona organization for four seasons, and previously worked as Colorado's director of player personnel and as a scout with Boston.
Rumors are already flying about who the Diamondbacks might hire as their next full-time general manager. Morosi's story notes that Dodgers assistant GM Logan White and former Padres GM Kevin Towers will be given "serious consideration" for the job. Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio has those two plus three other assistant GMs (Kim Ng of the Dodgers, Ben Cherington of the Red Sox and "Avila," who is presumably Al Avila of the Tigers) on a top-five list collected from a variety of sources. As for DiPoto, Morosi tweets that a D'Backs official made "no commitment to the duration" of DiPoto's reign as GM, so it appears as if his assignment truly is on an interim basis.