Report: Padres general manager Josh Byrnes is on the hot seat

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We heard some speculation last month that Padres manager Bud Black could be fired after their disappointing start to the season, but it turns out that general manager Josh Byrnes could be the first one to go.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal hears from major league sources that Byrnes’ relationship with ownership has “deteriorated” and that he is under the “most scrutiny” for the team’s current state. If the team does fire him, assistant general manager A.J. Hinch is considered the likely interim replacement. Of course, Hinch has close ties with Byrnes going back to their time together with the Diamondbacks.

The timing on this situation is delicate for multiple reasons. First, the Padres don’t want to appear insensitive following the death of Hall of Famer and franchise icon Tony Gwynn. His memorial service isn’t until next Thursday. Also, the Padres are one of just a handful of obvious sellers in the trade market. Whether it’s Byrnes, Hinch, or someone else making the decisions, names like Huston Street, Carlos Quentin, Chase Headley, and Ian Kennedy all figure to be in play before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Interestingly, Rosenthal makes the case that the Padres could do well to deal staff ace Andrew Cashner, who has rejected overtures about a contract extension and is under team through 2016.

Byrnes, who is signed through 2017, was promoted to GM under the previous ownership group in October of 2011. The Padres had back-to-back 76-wins seasons in 2012 and 2013 and sit at just 32-42 this season behind the league’s worst offense.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.