The San Diego Padres made a major change on top on Sunday, announcing that executive vice president and general manager Josh Byrnes has been fired following the team’s disappointing 32-43 start to the season. It was also announced that the search for a new GM is underway, and that assistants A.J. Hinch, Omar Minaya and Fred Uhlman will take on increased responsibilities moving forward until a permanent replacement is found.
Speculation ran rampant that a potential change might be in the offing somewhere high in the Padres’ power structure. Of course, the two names that came up the most were Byrnes and manager Bud Black. On Saturday, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal fanned the flames when he wrote that a change in direction was imminent, and a decision could come as soon as Monday.
Well, it appears the Padres brass didn’t want to keep the suspense building. A decision was made on Brynes’ status on Sunday, and the official word came down a short time later.
Here’s the official statement from CEO Mike Dee:
“This ownership group is committed to fielding a team that consistently competes for postseason play. Thus far this season, the results on the field have been mixed at best and clearly have not lived up to expectations. After a lengthy evaluation of every facet of our baseball operations, we have decided to make this change today.
“The search for a new General Manager begins immediately. We are looking for someone who can define, direct and lead this franchise’s baseball philosophy for years to come.”
Black will remain manager, at least for now.
By the way, if you’re into speculation, here’s one rumor that’s already out there.
Given that the Diamondbacks recently named Tony La Russa their chief baseball officer, it’s believed that Towers’ days are numbered there. It could end up being a match if the interest is mutual.
As for Byrnes, he could never find the right formula for rebuilding the Padres after taking over in October 2011. In his two-plus seasons, San Diego has posted a 184-215 record.
Granted, some might say that’s not enough time to properly judge what he was attempting to put together, but the man whose opinion counts the most has spoken, and the Padres are ready to turn the page to their next chapter.
The timing also indicates the team wasn’t comfortable in allowing Byrnes to handle their affairs at the upcoming trade deadline. Players such as Huston Street, Carlos Quentin, Chase Headley and Ian Kennedy all figure to be available, so it will be interesting to see if they’re aiming to have a new GM in place at that time.
With that in mind, this is only the beginning of what should be an interesting few weeks and even months within the Padres organization.