SAN DIEGO -- At the start of Andy Green's managerial tenure four years ago, the Padres embarked on an organizational overhaul. They traded prominent veteran pieces for prospects, starting a rebuilding process that they knew would take several years to complete.
Early Saturday morning -- amid an immensely disappointing second half of the 2019 season -- the Padres’ brass came to the conclusion that Green was not the best choice to oversee the final stages of that overhaul. A few hours later, Green was dismissed from his managerial duties.
The team announced the news Saturday morning in a statement from general manager A.J. Preller. Bench coach Rod Barajas will serve as interim manager for the remainder of the season.
Ultimately, Green's tenure at the helm of the Padres will be marked by four years of rebuilding and, ultimately, four losing seasons. But it's the disappointment of the final year -- most notably, the last few months -- that led to his dismissal.
"I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons," Preller said in the statement. "This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately."
Under Green, the Padres went 274-366. They finished last, fourth and last in the National League West in his first three years at the helm. For the most part, those early struggles were expected, given the roster composition.
But the Padres expected this season to be different. They added Manny Machado during the offseason and promoted a handful of highly touted prospects. The club showed marked improvement during the first half this season, sitting at .500 at the All-Star break. But that tailed off significantly to 24-40 during the second half, ultimately costing Green his job.
"As we got to these last few months, we just felt like we didn't really see enough progress," Preller said, addressing the media on Saturday afternoon. "When you look at the team, we feel like we have more talent than the way we were playing."
The Padres faded from contention in August, and they fell to 69-85 entering play on Saturday night against the D-backs. Lately, the Padres have fallen into their worst stretch of the season -- a 1-8 skid, including a three-game sweep by the Rockies in Colorado and a listless 9-0 loss to Arizona on Friday night.
The Padres made the move with eight games remaining in 2019. Then their search for a new skipper will begin to gain traction. Barajas is an obvious candidate. So, too, is Moises Alou, who serves as a Padres special assistant. Meanwhile, Cubs skipper Joe Maddon is set to have his contract expire after the season, and he could become the highest-profile manager available.
This much is clear: The Padres feel as though their vacancy is an appealing one. There's no timetable on the hiring process, Preller said. But the club expects to have plenty of options.
"We've seen some good things this year," Preller said. "The way we've finished is going to leave a bitter taste in everybody's mouth. But big-picture-wise, we think we're in a good place. It's an attractive job."
Of course, the Padres' next manager will be graded on a much steeper curve than the last one. Green was afforded plenty of leeway, given the club's overhaul. But the expectations changed this season -- from both the fan base and from the team's ownership group.
Over the past two offseasons, the Padres have invested $444 million in Machado and Eric Hosmer. They've also undertaken an overhaul of their farm system that netted them the most highly regarded group of prospects in the sport.
But the stark reality is this: Despite those changes, the Padres have barely closed the gap on .500 -- let alone the Dodgers, winners of seven straight division titles.
"At the end of the day, we're all part of this," Hosmer said. "When this doesn't work out and we don't win ballgames, it costs people their jobs. Unfortunately, it cost Andy his job. It's a reflection of all of us, how we've played this year. We just didn't get it done."
"Honestly, we gave it our all," Machado said. "We went out there, and Andy always gave us the opportunity and the strength to play baseball in a good position. Obviously, we didn't play to our capabilities, and we didn't do what we needed to do as a group."
In his meeting with the media on Saturday afternoon, Preller shouldered a significant portion of the blame himself. He also forecast further tough decisions with an underperforming roster. Green's dismissal, it seems, is merely the first domino to fall ahead of what figures to be a busy offseason.
"I look in the mirror and know that I've got to get the team better," Preller said. "For the players, we're looking for guys to be accountable. ... We're going to be crystal clear with our expectations. If you're going to be an everyday position player for the Padres, there's more to be expected. If you want to be a starting pitcher for the Padres, there's more to be expected."
Same goes for the manager. Green -- after four seasons in charge -- had not meet those expectations.