After 14 long seasons as Padres General Manager Kevin Towers was shown the door. Despite four division titles and a World Series appearance in 1998, his tenure couldn’t be labeled a successful one. Outside of the World Series run, the Padres won one postseason game in three appearances and finished last in their division five times.
2009 was going to be the start of a new era of Padres baseball. A young 35 year old. who had been a part of two World Series champion front offices in Boston and was baseball’s wonder kid, Theo Epstein’s, protege was coming to San Diego to finally bring a championship here. Gone was the old time thinking of Towers, and in was the forward thinking Jed Hoyer. Here is the press conference introducing Hoyer as the new GM.
Hoyer was not the first out of Epstein’s tree, division rival Arizona had hired away Josh Byrnes from Boston in 2005 and was already having a strong impact there with a trip to the NLCS and a second place division finish the year after. While they weren’t perfect results there was success there and Hoyer was viewed as someone who could right the ship as quickly as Byrnes did.
Right off the bat it looked that way. The Padres looked well on their way to the first division title since 2006, but a 10 game losing streak in August and a 12-16 September saw the Padres fall two games behind the Giants and ended up back at home in October once again. Regardless of the missed playoffs, a 90 win season was still viewed as somewhat of a success and validation of Hoyer as the right man to lead the Padres back to relevance. Unfortunately, next year there was not as much success after Hoyer traded away star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to his comrades in Boston, and eventually finished the season in last place in the NL West.
Now Hoyer appears primed for his big break in 2015. Since that tough 2011 season he’s accumulated several young assets that appear to be ready to break out in the big leagues, or could be used to acquire more experienced talent, and apparently a lot of money to spend on this year’s crop of free agents. Sadly, none of this has been with the San Diego Padres. As many of you know he bolted to Chicago prior to the 2012 to reunite with Theo Epstein and bring the Cubs their first World Series in over 100 years.
Now in San Diego the Padres are counting on A.J. Preller to be everything we wanted Hoyer to be. It feels like 2009 once again, and maybe this time we truly are ushering in a new era of Padres baseball.