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Padres president Mike Dee explains why he fired GM Josh Byrnes

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Dee interview with Darren Smith (MP3)

  • Dee thought it was time to make a change in the leadership of Baseball Operations.  It was a change that has been discussed over the last two months.  They have nothing but positive things to say about Josh Byrnes.  "It's probably a better place than it was when he arrived."  The team's poor performance was a contributing factor but the bigger factor was the long range view of the franchise. They didn't feel the team was on the right track to play in the postseason for years to come.
  • "Nobody is waving the white towel here in 2014 as bleak as it looks."  It's not likely but possible they could still compete.  There's very little help in the higher levels of the farm system. Injuries have been a factor but they have been the last 3 years.  A system needs to be in place to have talent ready to fill in for injured players. 
  • Jace Peterson is an example of a player that isn't ready for the Major Leagues yet but is playing because the system is weak.
  • They want to have a clear definition of what the Padres stand for.  "We feel we could and should compete with the best teams in the National League and throughout baseball."
  • It's not about blaming Josh Byrnes.  They need to set standards for themselves.  There's a difference between blame and accountability.  Byrnes is accountable for the poor results.
  • I think that speaks volumes about why he's no longer here. -Mike Dee
    Dee is surprised that Byrnes was offended that he was accused of misleading the expectations of leadership.  "If Josh's comments indicate that we weren't going to be competitive for a postseason berth, I think that speaks volumes about why he's no longer here."  The General Manager should expect to compete coming out of Spring Training every year.
  • Dee denies that there is a personality conflict between himself and Byrnes.
  • Dee worked with great General Managers like Kevin Towers and they all have a vision.  Dee says that the Cubs have a vision of building a winning organization with young talent.  The Padres want a blueprint for success.
  • The bottom line is that this is a performance based business. "We are going to set a standard of excellence with this franchise over time."  They are going to let their actions speak louder than words.  In order to get this excellence they needed new leadership in this area.
  • Buddy Black is a great field manager with a long history in baseball.  He's done a great job managing the pitching staff.  He's tried different combinations of the players on his roster.  To make the change at the present time wasn't in the best interest of the club.  They'll sit down in 2015 with the new GM to see if Black has a future here. They'd like a GM in place to evaluate Black during games.  Black has a strong reputation in baseball.  Very few GMs wouldn't want Black to manage their team.
  • The GM by committee (A.J. Hinch, Omar Minaya and Fred Uhlman Jr.) is going to be highly collaborative.  They are going to divide and conquer. Hinch is going to oversee the major league team and transactions.  Minaya and Uhlman will have their own responsibilities.  This is a short-term solution.  They have great confidence in the Baseball Operations staff.