San Diego Padres fire general manager Josh Byrnes

June 22, 2014 – 9:18 pm by Ryan Phillips
    Josh Byrnes

On Sunday the struggling San Diego Padres fired general manager Josh Byrnes. The move was abrupt and caught many in Major League Baseball by surprise but in truth, this had probably been coming for a while. Padres president and CEO Mike Dee said in a statement that the search for a new GM would begin immediately and in the interim, senior vice president for baseball operations Oman Minaya and assistant general managers A.J. Hinch and Fred Uhlman, Jr. will share Byrnes’ role.

After a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, the Padres are now 32-44 and sit 13.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West. It has not been the season the team or its fans expected after a solid finish to the 2013 season.

Dee said the following in his statement:

“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.”

Byrnes was hired as San Diego’s senior vice president for baseball operations in December 2010 after being let go as the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Within 10 months he was promoted to general manager and given a five-year contract, but that deal was given to him by the previous ownership group.

The Padres finished 76-86 in both 2012 and 2013 and, as stated, the team has struggled thus far in 2014.

Byrnes’ firing most likely came down to the big contracts he handed out to under-performing players. He signed promising lefty Cory Luebke to a $12 million deal, but the 29-year-old has only made five starts since then and hasn’t pitched in 24 months after blowing out his pitching elbow. Cameron Maybin signed a $25 million extension before the 2012 season but hasn’t lived up to it, and Carlos Quentin signed a three-year, $27 million extension in 2012 but has rarely been healthy since.

This past offseason Byrnes also gave Josh Johnson $8 million, but the big righty blew out his elbow again and won’t play this season. So that was money flushed down the toilet. Some will also point to second baseman Jedd Gyorko’s $35 million extension which was agreed to this season, but it’s far too early to tear Gyorko apart even with his .162 average so far in 2014.

The Padres new ownership group does not want to act like a small-market franchise. It wants wins and a new direction that trends towards making big moves if needed. The team’s system has a lot of talent in it (mostly young pitching) and it’s either time to use those prospects to acquire proven big leaguers, or fast-track them.

Either way, it was long past time for Byrnes to go.

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  1. 2 Responses to “San Diego Padres fire general manager Josh Byrnes”

  2. Well, the majority O’Malley group took over in late 2012, and if Peter O’Malley’s sons and nephews are taking his advice, they’ve been assessing the franchise from day one before making moves, and have a plan of action they will implement step by step.

    The two big Moorad hires, Garfinkel and Byrnes, are gone now, so the new GM should tell us a lot. This firing probably reduces the chance of deadline moves without a permanent GM in place, unless they’ve already identified their man and he takes over soon.

    I’d be encouraged by that, because it would indicate they REALLY planned ahead. Even if the new guy takes over after the deadline, the off-season promises to be busy, and the end of the season guarantee to Bud Black might mean his days are numbered too, since he’s contracted for 2015. That extra year doesn’t mean much, since they just ate 2-1/2 years of Byrnes’ contract, and may indicate the people actually making the decisions are not afraid to spend money.

    By Larry Farrier on Jun 22, 2014

  3. I would bet they at least have a short list of GM candidates in mind. I don’t believe this search will take long.

    I also believe most of the scouting department will remain in tact, because they’ve done an excellent job over the past few years of identifying and signing their draft picks.

    The real need here is for improvement in the late-stage development of prospects. How many guys have been great in the minors then hit the wall when they reach Triple-A or the big leagues?

    By Ryan Phillips on Jun 22, 2014

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