NOVEMBER 23: The Padres have issued a statement regarding Dee’s departure. It reads: “The Padres and Mike Dee have amicably parted ways. We thank Mike for his contributions and wish him and his family all the best. Consistent with our policy not to comment on personnel matters, we have no further comment.”
“I wish to thank Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler for the opportunity to lead the Padres over the last three years,” says Dee. “I wish them and the entire organization well in what I believe is a very bright future that lies ahead.”
OCTOBER 13: Team sources insist that the move on Dee was not related to the health disclosure controversy, Lin reports in a further update on the story. Though Seidler recently defended Dee, who was under contract for at least another year, it seems that other factors were at play.
San Diego will not be hiring a president of baseball operations over Preller, Lin adds, though it’s also not clear whether Dee’s role — in which he oversaw business and baseball ops — will be occupied fully by a single new hire. The Padres also fired vice president of strategy and innovation Ryan Gustafson, per the report.
OCTOBER 12, 5:14pm: The Padres also dismissed senior advisor Randy Smith yesterday, Lin reports (via Twitter). Smith had spent more than two decades in the Padres organization, though not all in succession. The veteran baseball exec was the Padres’ GM back from 1993-95 (initially named GM at the age of 29) and spent the 1996-2001 seasons as the Tigers’ general manager. In his most recent run in San Diego, Smith had served as the Padres’ VP of player development and director of player development in addition to at one point overseeing the club’s international operations. He’d been a senior advisor to Preller for the past two seasons. The decision to dismiss Smith, according to Lin, is unrelated to Dee’s departure.
Additionally, Lin tweets that while there’s been some speculation of this nature, the Padres won’t hire a president of baseball operations. That would, of course, effectively be a demotion for Preller, but it would seem there’s no such plan at this time.
12:10pm: The Padres have parted ways with president and CEO Mike Dee, according to a report from Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune which the team has confirmed in an announcement. He had held down his role since 2013.
It remains unclear at this point what precipitated the move and just how Dee’s departure came about. The move was not spurred directly by the recent controversy surrounding the organization’s failure to disclose medical information in trade talks, Lin reports. An investigation from Major League Baseball led to the thirty-day suspension of general manager A.J. Preller, but the club has stood by him. Today’s news also doesn’t change Preller’s status, according to Lin, who writes that the controversial GM isn’t in danger of losing his job.
Still, that episode my have played a role. As Lin adds (Twitter links), the embarrassing suspension of the team’s top baseball operations man may have functioned as a “tipping point.” But other areas of discord had evidently already eroded the relationship between Dee and the ownership group.
All said, the departure represents another jolt to a club that has seen its fair share of turmoil of late. “My goal and our organization’s objective is to have stability and long-term tenure in our front office, but sometimes these changes are inevitable,” said Padres managing partner Peter Seidler.
Dee’s job duties, which included hiring Preller and running numerous important business initiatives, were obviously of critical importance to the Friars. “Mike’s departure creates a position we will need to fill, and the search will begin immediately,” executive chairman Ron Fowler said. “In the meantime, we will work closely with our talented and trusted senior executives to lead the organization forward.”