San Diego Padres: Who is in Charge Here?

The lack of leadership in the San Diego Padres organization approaching spring training is alarming. When will Ron Fowler or Peter Seidler step up and take charge?

Thanks to Kevin Acee’s recent column in the San Diego Union Tribune, we now know why the San Diego Padres’ front office has been mute in recent weeks. Obviously, Mike Dee no longer speaks for the team, and Ron Fowler, the executive chairman, has been busy with baseball matters only tangentially affecting the local team.

Since 2015 Fowler has immersed himself in his work as chairman of MLB’s labor committee. As such, he visited 29 of 30 clubs and attended almost all of the meetings, most of which were in New York, leading up to the new collective bargaining agreement.

“In the history of labor relations since 1989, my first year, no owner has devoted more time, made himself more available or had a bigger influence on the MLB,” Commissioner Rob Manfred has said.

If Fowler had left a capable CEO and head of baseball operations in charge, his absence would not matter much. Instead Dee made a hash of just about everything he touched until he simply vanished.

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The leadership void explains quite a lot about the past two years. In that brief time the Padres have had four managers: Bud Black, Dave Roberts, Pat Murphy and Andy Green. General Manager A.J. Preller has been involved in a record-keeping scandal and been suspended. Although team officials promised to more carefully monitor record keeping, it’s unclear whether Fowler or fellow owner Peter Seidler will provide that over site or will hire a new head of baseball ops to watch over Preller.

With pitchers and catchers reporting on February 14 and position players three days later, the leadership void looms large. To complicate matters, Fowler had originally indicated that he would serve for no more than five years as executive chairman, and almost five years have now passed.

The silence from the Padres front office has grown deafening, and either Fowler or Seidler needs to step to a microphone and let fans know the plan for filling the leadership void.

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