We're kicking off a new series here at MLBTR called GM Initiation. Each post in the series will look at a general manager's first trade.
Josh Byrnes was hired as Diamondbacks GM on October 28th, 2005. His first deal came on December 7th at the Winter Meetings. Byrnes and Braves GM John Schuerholz agreed on a deal to send catcher Johnny Estrada to Arizona for relievers Oscar Villarreal and Lance Cormier. Estrada went on to have a solid '06 campaign for the D'Backs and was used in a trade to acquire Doug Davis after the season. Both relievers pitched two seasons for Atlanta, with Villarreal posting better numbers.
Byrnes was kind enough to answer a few questions about his first trade.
MLB Trade Rumors: 2005 marked your first Winter Meetings as a general manager. How would you describe the experience?
Josh Byrnes: The 2005 Winter Meetings were busy. We were exploring many trades to reshape the roster. It was our first time together as a larger group in that type of setting.
MLBTR: Did you enter the '05 Meetings intent on acquiring a starting catcher? About how many different catchers were you seriously considering?
Byrnes: We were trying to improve in the middle of the field. Later that month, we acquired Orlando Hudson, Eric Byrnes and Chris Young. Estrada was the catcher who made the most sense at the time.
MLBTR: What kind of relationship did you have with Braves GM John Schuerholz prior to the Estrada deal? How long did it take to put the trade together?
Byrnes: I knew John a little bit. The trade came together fairly quickly. We had a few discussions at the meetings and agreed after a few conversations.
MLBTR: Does the Estrada trade hold significance for you, since it was your first acquisition? Is the significance diminished because you were such an active trader that month?
Byrnes: I said at the time that the deal carried some significance to me because we did it with John. Certainly, he is one the best (if not the best) GM’s of all time. He is also very passionate about the game and the industry, so it is memorable to have made my first trade with John.