Padres fire general manager Josh Byrnes; could Kevin Towers return to run the club?

Posted: 06/22/2014 in baseball
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The San Diego Padres finally fired somebody on Sunday and thankfully it wasn’t the manager.

General manager Josh Byrnes was officially made the scapegoat for the latest underachieving season when he was shown the door prior to Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s hard to quibble with that decision with the Padres fielding one of the most anemic-hitting teams in franchise history.

The Padres went 76-86 in each of Byrnes’ first two seasons at the helm and they were 11 games below .500 this season when he was fired. There has been nothing encouraging about his tenure with the club despite being allowed to have a payroll of approximately $90 million to work with per this season’s club.

Recent speculation had manager Bud Black in danger of being let go, which was really a silly thought. The problem with the Padres hasn’t been the manager, it has been the performance of the last couple general managers – Jed Hoyer and Byrnes – as well as the commitment of the folks much higher up the chain.

Black could still be in danger of being removed after the season if the team hires a new general manager that desires a complete fresh start. In that case, I can see Black being allowed to move on but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the job he’s doing and the way he runs a club.

Let me spell it out this way – John McGraw, Casey Stengel or Dick Williams – the latter being the best manager ever employed by the Padres – wouldn’t be faring much better with this inept offensive squad.

It will be interesting to see in which direction the Padres go with their GM hire. I see one of the names being tossed around is Kevin Towers and I was wondering about that very subject two-to-three weeks ago.

Towers could be on his way out as Arizona Diamondbacks general manager due to that franchise’s poor season and the recent hiring of Tony La Russa to handle baseball operations.

The Padres have made the playoffs just five times in franchise history – gosh, how horrible does that sound? – and four of those came with Towers at the helm. He was fired following the 2009 season during Jeff Moorad’s brief stint as owner.

The thing to consider here is how the Padres would feel about a second stint of Towers running the franchise. Executive chairman Ron Fowler had substantial dealings with the Padres as a businessman – he once was the task force chairman per assessing whether a downtown ballpark was a workable idea – and knows Towers well.

If Fowler wants Towers to run the club, the only way it won’t happen is if Towers decides he doesn’t want to come back to San Diego.

Remember all those skimpy payrolls Towers had to work with? I’d kind of like to see what he could do with a $90 million payroll to work with. Something tells me he wouldn’t give an injury prone pitcher like Josh Johnson $8.5 million as Byrnes did this past offseason.

Johnson hasn’t thrown a pitch for the Padres this season. No real surprise considering the guy’s history.

Plus, Towers is the man who originally hired Black as San Diego manager following the 2006 season. So you know he understands exactly what I know:

The manager of the San Diego Padres isn’t the problem.


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