Byrnes has been under Epstein's wing in Boston

PHOENIX -- Boston Red Sox assistant general manager Josh
Byrnes was hired Friday as general manager of the
Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 35-year-old Byrnes replaces Joe Garagiola Jr., the general
manager since the Diamondbacks' inception. Garagiola resigned to
become senior vice president of baseball operations in the
commissioner's office.

"So many of the people and circumstances here make this a great
fit, and it feels like a dream job," Byrnes said at a news
conference after a cross-country flight from Boston.

Byrnes, known for his appreciation of an elaborate statistical
analysis of the game and its players, had been assistant GM of the
Red Sox since Theo Epstein was hired as general manager in 2002.
The two worked together to develop the Boston team that won the
World Series championship in 2004.

"Having experienced success at different places at different
times, I always come back to the approach of balance," Byrnes
said. "I think we do need to balance short-term and long-term. You
always want to win now but you don't want to mortgage the future.

"You need to balance old school-new school, the use of numbers
versus the use of instinct and visual judgment. We need to balance
rosters. It's not as much of a superstar sport as football and
basketball and your weak links will show up in a long season."

Byrnes was scouting director of the Cleveland Indians before
serving as assistant general manager of the Colorado Rockies for
three years.

"Leaving Boston was not easy," Byrnes said. "It was a high
level of passion to win, a unique rivalry, a baseball operations
staff which was a great, great place to work. That's what I need to
learn here and need to recreate here."

The Diamondbacks interviewed several candidates, including San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers, Chicago White Sox
director of player development Dave Wilder, Washington Nationals
general manager Jim Bowden and Diamondbacks interim GM Bob Gebhard.

The three who conducted the interviews -- managing partner Ken
Kendrick, general partner Jeff Moorad and club president Rich Dozer
-- all concluded that Byrnes was the best choice, Kendrick said.
Kendrick said the partners will be involved in matters that call
for major expenditures.

"But for the most part, we have concluded when we looked at
this profile that we needed to recognize that we are not baseball
guys," Kendrick said. "We are baseball fans and we have a passion
for the game. I've been one in my life that has wanted to become
associated with people who were experts and then were given the
responsibility and authority to act on their expertise. For the
most part, that's what we're going to do."

Moorad called Byrnes "extremely bright, with high character and
high integrity."

"Our instincts are when Josh Byrnes steps into the role
formally, he has the potential to be not only a successful general
manager but a great one," Moorad said.

Byrnes is not the youngest general manager in the game, however.
The Texas Rangers recently promoted Jon Daniels, 28, to the post,
part of a trend toward young general managers.

The Diamondbacks were 77-85 last season, finishing second in the
weak NL West, below expectations but a significant improvement from
the 2004 squad that lost 111 games. Byrnes already has talked about
the team's needs.

"I hate to do too much of a diagnosis without talking to
everyone," Byrnes said. "I think there are some pitching needs.
There were some positive steps at the end with the bullpen getting
settled. But defending your own turf is a big issue. Winning at
home and doing better at home are important things."

The Diamondbacks were 36-45 at home last season.