After the team announced general manager Josh Byrnes was fired minutes before the first pitch with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, the Padres put up another punchless performance in a 2-1 loss against Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Although Padres President and CEO Mike Dee said there were a number of factors that figured into the firing, Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler made it clear that the ownership group was not happy with the product on the field.
"When you invest 50 per cent more money over the last two years, in terms of payroll, you expect better performance," Fowler said. "We gave baseball ops a clean slate as far as who did they want, what did they want to do. For my perspective, we are standing here as a consequence of that not working."
Byrnes' off-season moves included free agent signings of starting pitcher Josh Johnson, who has yet to pitch for San Diego since straining his right forearm in spring training, reliever Joaquin Benoit and outfielder Seth Smith.
"We were led to believe, and I think it's fair to say we believed, based upon the investment that we made, the additions we made in the off-season, the addition of certain players during the off-season, that would put us over the top," Dee said. "We felt confident that we would be in a position to compete for post-season baseball."
Dee added that manager Bud Black has been told that his job is safe at least through the end of the season.
Until the club hires a new general manager, senior vice-president for baseball operations Omar Minaya and assistant general managers A.J. Hinch and Fred Uhlman, Jr. will assume the GM duties.
Minaya was the general manager of the New York Mets from 2005-10.
Byrnes was hired by the Padres as their senior vice-president for baseball operations in December 2010 after he was let go as general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he was in the middle of an eight-year deal. He was promoted 10 months later to GM and was given a five-year contract.
Under Byrnes, the Padres payroll increased nearly $40 million to $89,881,696 on opening this season — 23rd overall — but the team has made little progress.
After finishing with 76-86 records in his first two seasons, the Padres are 32-43 and 12 1/2 games back in the NL West during an injury-plagued season.
Byrnes was touted by the Padres as excelling at scouting and player development, but his biggest moves came through trades. He sent first base prospect Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs for top-line starter Andrew Cashner, and he dealt starting pitcher Mat Latos for infielder Yasmani Grandal, catcher Yonder Alonso, and right-handers Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger.
Byrnes also acquired starter Tyson Ross, closer Huston Street, outfielder Carlos Quentin and right-hander Ian Kennedy.
Ryu (9-3) had few problems against the light-hitting Padres, as he won for the sixth time in seven starts since missing more than three weeks with shoulder inflammation.
The left-handed Ryu gave up one runs and four hits in six innings, and he did not allow San Diego to get its first hit until the fourth inning.
The Dodgers, winners of 10 of 14, took two of three games in the series and have either won or split their last 11 series in San Diego. The last time they lost a series in San Diego was a three-game sweep in September 2010.
Adrian Gonzalez and Dee Gordon drove in runs against Eric Stults (2-10).
J.P. Howell pitched 1 1-3 perfect innings and Brian Wilson got two outs before Kenley Jansen finished off the four-hitter by pitching the ninth for his 22nd save in 25 chances.
NOTES: Dodgers LF Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to 10 games, while Ramirez increased his to nine games. ... San Diego has scored 23 runs in Stults' 16 starts. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley (back) missed his fourth straight game. ... Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke (9-3, 2.57 ERA) faces Royals RP Jeremy Guthrie (4-6, 3.86) Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Kansas City. The Padres travel to San Francisco on Monday with RHP Andrew Cashner (2-6, 2.36) squaring off against Matt Cain (1-3, 3.66).