The San Diego Padres fired general manager Josh Byrnes on June 22 after a disappointing 32-43 start to the 2014 MLB season.
The San Diego Padres fired general manager Josh Byrnes on June 22.
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MLB.com's Corey Brock reported on Byrnes' dismissal:
"Ron Fowler, executive chairman of the Padres, bristled a bit Sunday when he was asked if the dismissal of Josh Byrnes as general manager was a step back for the organization.
"'This is a rest,' Fowler said. 'This is not a step back. We're doing this so that we could move forward. We expect continuous improvement from the organization. We're getting it in other areas. We are not getting it on the baseball field.'
"The Padres, who dropped to 32-44 following a loss to the Dodgers, dismissed Byrnes following two-plus seasons as general manager of the team shortly before the first pitch on Sunday.
"Only the D-backs trail the Padres in the National League West, with the first-place Giants 13 1/2 games up on San Diego. There are 10 times ahead of the Padres in the NL Wild Card race.
"Byrnes wasn't immediately available for comment Sunday.
"The Padres have scored the fewest runs in baseball. They have scored 225 runs this season -- or 42 fewer than the 29th-ranked team (Braves). They also ranked last in the big leagues in batting average (.214), on-base percentage (.274) and slugging (.339).
"There had been rumblings and rumors locally that the team was considering changes, either up top with Byrnes or possibly manager Bud Black. Mike Dee, team president and CEO of the Padres, said the Padres will keep Black at least through the end of the season.
"'This was a decision that was not made in a day or two or a week or two. The last couple months, we've seen a team we had high expectations for. Those expectations have not been reached,' said Dee.
"Assistant general managers A.J. Finch and Fred Uhlman, Jr. and Omar Minaya, the senior vice president of baseball operations, will oversee the general manager duties on an interim basis."
The San Diego Union-Tribune's Chris Jenkins also wrote about the development, including Byrne's sentiments on the matter:
"Bringing an end to perhaps the most tumultuous, wrenching week in the Padres' difficult history, Josh Byrnes has been relieved of his duties as the major league franchise's executive vice president and general manager.
"Byrnes, who was the team's third GM in a three-year span when hired in October of 2011, was the first to go as a result of yet another desultory start to a season that seeemd over before the All-Star break.
"'I was an inherited GM and we didn't win,' said Byrnes. 'I love the city, love the people, and it was extremely important to me to help bring a winner here. It just didn't happen.'"
Several Padres chimed in on Byrnes' dismissal, per Jenkins' colleague, Dennis Lin:
"When the doors opened to the media, the clubhouse was subdued. Most players dressed quietly and quickly. A flight to San Francisco -- and a series against the first-place Giants -- awaited.
"Still, the majority of them had been acquired by Byrnes over his two-and-a-half year tenure as GM.
"'It's just a bad situation. Nobody wants something like that to happen,' said outfielder Seth Smith, whom Byrnes acquired in exchange for reliever Luke Gregerson.
"'You come into the season and you get your team, and you think, front office down, this probably the team. Anytime it gets changed or shaken up, you certainly don't feel good about it.'
"'It's unfortunate,' said starting pitcher Tyson Ross, another former Oakland (Athletics) player. 'He gave me a good opportunity, and it's really worked out for me. Personally, I'm sad to see him go, but ownership's chosen to go in another direction, so it is what it is.'
"Third baseman Chase Headley is one of the few players who arrived in San Diego well in advance of Byrnes. As well, he is one of the few Padres to have gone through two GM firings.
"'Everybody's looking at themselves in the mirror,' Headley said. 'It doesn't start with anybody, doesn't stop with anybody. Everybody's disappointed with how the season's going, and when a team performs this way, changes are going to be made.
"'We haven't done our job the way we're capable of doing it. If we start doing better, it's not because they let someone go, it's because we're playing better. You hate that, as a whole, our performance has to come to this, but that's where we're at.'
"Headley and his teammates were not surprised by the move. For weeks, as the losses continued to pile up, they had been aware of talks of potential and significant change."
Byrnes came on board as San Diego's vice president for baseball operations in Dec. 2010 after he was dismissed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as their general manger. His eight-year contract with Arizona was not yet up at the time, per ESPN.
Byrnes was promoted to general manager after 10 months, promptly increasing the team's payroll by almost $40 million to $89,881,696 in the 2014 MLB season -- good enough for 23rd in the league, according to the ESPN update.
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