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Padres to begin GM search immediately

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres aren't waiting long to search for a new general manger.

Team president and CEO Mike Dee said the team is already armed with a list of potential candidates to replace Josh Byrnes, who was dismissed Sunday.

"We've identified a list of great candidates. We're going to be very eagerly and aggressively pursuing the best architect and the best individual to lead the baseball operation area of his franchise to make this a competitive [team] and a postseason contender year in and year out," Dee said.

Byrnes was dismissed following two-plus seasons on the job after being named the general manager of the Padres in October 2011.

Assistant general managers A.J. Hinch and Fred Uhlman Jr. and Omar Minaya, the senior vice president of baseball operations, will oversee the general manager duties on an interim basis.

Dee said the search for a new GM "begins immediately." And while Hinch and Minaya will certainly merit consideration, there seems to be a sentiment that the hire will come from the outside -- and, quite possibly, could occur soon.

"We want to be diligent and be pragmatic," Dee said. "This is an enormously important time and also an important decision to make. It's as soon as possible. One of the aspects of the timing of the decision, we can be ahead of other teams contemplating a change [in general manager]."

In order to make a move on a new general manager, the Padres will need to seek and gain approval to interview a candidate who's already employed. Most teams wouldn't block an aspiring general manager candidate.

Mike Hazen of the Red Sox could be a possiblity. Dee worked with Hazen previously when both were with the Red Sox. He's considered by many a rising star among the group of aspiring general manager candidates. Hazen, an assistant general manager with the Red Sox, has a background in scouting and player development.

Billy Eppler, an assistant general manager with the Yankees, could be a candidate. He's from San Diego and actually worked for the Padres in 2000 as a scout.

Some in San Diego would like to see Jason McLeod come back from Chicago, where he's the senior vice president of player development and amateur scouting with the Cubs. McLeod had two previous stints with the Padres.

What does Dee and executive chairman Ron Fowler want from their new general manager?

"It will someone with a near-, mid- and long-term vision of what we want to be as an organization," Dee said. "Moving forward, we'll have a lot of structure. We will hire great baseball people. We want baseball people with baseball experience to make baseball decisions for this organization."

Dee said he considers the Padres GM job to be a plumb gig.

"I think this is a pretty juicy job for someone who wants to be a general manager," he said.

Whomever the Padres hire will inherit a roster with about $33 million owed to players in 2015, including $8 million to outfielder Carlos Quentin and reliever Joaquin Benoit.

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter.
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