Padres fire Mike Dee following another miserable season

Former Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, left, talks hitting with then team president Mike Dee in August 2013. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

SAN DIEGO — Mike Dee is out as president of the San Diego Padres, who were embroiled in a major controversy toward the end of another miserable season.

Managing partner Peter Seidler offered little insight into Dee’s departure Wednesday. He denied Dee was fired, but wouldn’t say whether Dee resigned or if it was a mutual decision.

Seidler said Dee’s contract wasn’t set to expire until August 2018.

Whatever happened, Dee’s ouster comes less than a month after general manager A.J. Preller was given an unprecedented monthlong suspension without pay by MLB after its investigation revealed the Padres had withheld medical information from trade partners, including in the deal that sent All-Star left-hander Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox.

"This had nothing to do with Preller," Seidler told The Associated Press. "Mike’s not taking the fall for the A.J. stuff."

Seidler has said that Preller’s job is safe.

"Our baseball operations area is outstanding as far as I’m concerned," Seidler said. "We’ve got to fix our medical practices, which we’re well on our way to making happen."

Preller had reported to Dee. Seidler, the nephew of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley, said he and executive chairman Ron Fowler must decide whether Preller will report to them or to the new president.

Dee didn’t immediately respond to calls and texts seeking comment.

Fowler said in an email that he was in New York for CBA negotiations and "will have no further statement."

The Padres had released a one-sentence statement saying simply that Fowler and Seidler "announced the departure of" Dee.

Besides Preller’s suspension, there were other embarrassments during Dee’s tenure that brought unwanted attention to a franchise that has missed the playoffs for 10 straight seasons and is in a deep rebuilding mode.

The Padres angered many fans two years ago when they named their hall of fame plaza for former commissioner Bud Selig, a move that many felt helped San Diego land the 2016 All-Star Game. The Padres eventually reversed course on naming the plaza for Selig.

Early in the 2016 season, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus was embarrassed when a Padres contract employee inadvertently played a recording of a woman singing the national anthem rather than a tape of the chorus singing it.

Before the 2014 season, public address announcer Frank Anthony was fired and his replacement was determined via in-game auditions and social media voting. During a game against Detroit, a PA candidate committed a major flub. As two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera walked to the plate, he was announced as Austin Jackson. Cabrera turned and looked up at the booth.

In a publicity stunt, the Padres drafted Johnny Manziel in the 28th round of the 2014 draft. Manziel was listed as a shortstop for Texas A&M, although he never played baseball for the Aggies as he focused on football, winning the 2012 Heisman Trophy and then getting drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. The Padres had gotten to know Manziel when he held off-season workouts in San Diego.

Dee was hired in July 2013 following four seasons as president of the Miami Dolphins. He spent time with the Padres in the 1990s.

"What we needed three years ago might be different from what we need right now," Seidler said.

Seidler’s group bought the Padres from John Moores in August 2012 after Jeff Moorad’s attempt to buy the team on an installment plan failed.

The Padres finished last in the NL West at 68-94, their sixth straight losing season. Fowler said during the season that ownership doesn’t think the team will be .500 for two more years.

Dee approved Preller’s win-now attempt prior to the 2015 season, when he loaded up with veterans such as Matt Kemp, James Shields, Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel. After finishing three games worse in 2015 than they did in 2014, the Padres began shedding high-priced contracts and going with a youth movement. They’re now making a nearly $100 million gamble on teenage prospects, many of them international signings.

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