Byrnes, Melvin meet the media
D-backs GM, manager discuss offseason agenda
PHOENIX -- D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes and manager Bob Melvin each held their end-of-season press conferences Monday afternoon, and they touched on a number of topics.Byrnes said the team will wait a few weeks before it gets into serious contract negotiations with left-hander Randy Johnson. Byrnes said he talked with Johnson after Sunday's season finale about plans for returning in 2009, but the GM didn't want to get into any specifics about whether there was mutual interest in bringing the 295-game winner back for another season. "There's certainly been dialogue along the way," Byrnes said. "I think the general sentiment is kind of understood on both sides now. It's getting a little more specific, but like I said, I think we'll wait a wait a couple weeks to really engage in that discussion. "We're certainly going to talk to Randy. I think we'll give him a little bit of breathing room from the season, and then we'll decide the fit." The Big Unit made $10 million in 2008 and went 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA in his 21st Major League season. Johnson exceeded expectations, as he recovered from his second back surgery in as many years. He missed only one start all year, but it had nothing to do with his back. In the season finale, Johnson pitched masterfully, going a full nine innings, allowing just two hits and one unearned run in his 100th career complete game. Johnson is 295-160 with a 3.26 ERA and 4,789 strikeouts, second all-time behind Nolan Ryan. In eight seasons with Arizona, Johnson is first in franchise history with 118 wins, 2,077 strikeouts, 231 games started, 38 complete games and 14 shutouts. "He pitched very well this year," Byrnes said. "I think it's complicated because he has 295 wins, he's a Hall-of-Famer and certainly most of his career identity is here. "I think we have a lot of issues to pore through in the offseason, a very good free-agent class, him included, so we need to make the best use of our resources." Another starting pitcher with contractual questions is potential National League Cy Young Award-winner Brandon Webb. The right-hander is under club control for the next two seasons, but Webb was in talks with the D-backs earlier in the year, but reportedly the team pulled the offer off the table. "The good news is there's been a lot of discussion so far," Byrnes said. "We'll see how it proceeds." Melvin said he expects all of his coaching staff to return next season. He said he has had ongoing discussions with several of them in the last few days. "I'm happy with what the staff here has done," Melvin said. "I think the last two years the staff has worked as hard as any staff I've been around. We've made some significant strides with players, and we've been with the younger group since their first days in the big leagues. This staff has a good feel for the players and what they respond to and what they don't. "I'd like to have, obviously, the whole group back." Max Scherzer will pitch in the Arizona Fall League, which begins Oct. 7. Scherzer, who likely earned a spot in the 2009 starting rotation, will throw about four innings a game to get some extra work against live hitters in the offseason. "We just want to build up his innings," Byrnes said. "It's just a conditioning aspect and building him up to the neighborhood of 140 innings." Byrnes said infielder Jamie D'Antona will have surgery in the offseason to repair cartilage in one of his knees.
Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.