In a press conference at PETCO Park, San Diego officially named 35-year-old Red Sox assistant general manager Jed Hoyer as its new GM, replacing Kevin Towers, who held the post for 14 seasons.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to be here," said Hoyer, who had been a key right-hand man for Red Sox GM Theo Epstein since Boston lured Epstein from the Padres in November 2002 at the age of 28.
"I'm so excited for this incredible opportunity ... My goal is to build a consistent winner, year in and year out, for the city of San Diego. It's a clear goal. I want to make sure we can win consistently, and I'm incredibly lucky to have the pieces in place already, with a really good young core and a good farm system."
In Boston, Hoyer rose from the position of baseball operations intern in 2002 to baseball operations assistant the following year, and he and fellow assistant Ben Cherington even served briefly as co-GMs after the 2005 season when Epstein was working through contract issues.
Now Hoyer will take the reins of a young team that finished fourth in the National League West in 2009 with a 75-87 record but showed marked improvement in the last two months of the season, going 33-25 over that span.
"I believe that we've found a person who brings a terrific baseball pedigree," said Padres vice chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad, who also tapped into the Boston executive talent pool to hire a GM who had worked under Epstein when he was CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Moorad signed Josh Byrnes as GM in October 2005 to replace Joe Garagiola Jr. and saw Byrnes lead the D-backs to the NL Championship Series in 2007.
"[Hoyer] learned from a mentor named [former Padres and current Red Sox president and CEO] Larry Lucchino, without whom we wouldn't be sitting in the building today, and he learned from a GM named Theo Epstein who I have a tremendous amount of respect for," Moorad said. "I'm excited to have him lead us into the next chapter of Padres baseball."
Before he opened that chapter, Hoyer made a point of giving his gratitude to Towers, who was responsible for bringing in the manager, Bud Black, and coaching staff Hoyer will be working so closely with.
The only uncertainty is hitting coach Randy Ready, who has interviewed for the Astros' managerial job but has been invited back if the Astros do not hire him. Otherwise, Hoyer and Black, who agreed to an extension through 2010 with a club option for 2011, are set with bench coach Ted Simmons, pitching coach Darren Balsley, first-base coach Rick Renteria, third-base coach Glenn Hoffman and bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds.
"I came up in baseball listening to Theo extol Kevin's virtues," Hoyer said.
"I got to know him a bit through Theo, and he's one of the best baseball guys in the game and, rightfully, one of the best guys in the game. He left behind great players, great building blocks, a great baseball operations staff, and every day I walk in the door I'll be grateful for the work he did."
Hoyer, who grew up in Plymouth, N.H., and played shortstop, pitched and was an assistant coached at Wesleyan University, also thanked Epstein. He didn't hide the fact that he'll try to build the Padres using the same philosophy Epstein has employed in seven wildly successful seasons in Boston.
"The only way [to win consistently] is through scouting and player development," Hoyer said. "I want to build it from within. There's no magic formula that I learned in Boston, no 'special sauce.' It comes down to the building blocks of baseball, which are scouting and development.
"I listened as [Epstein] articulated his vision, and I learned and watched. I look at what Boston built that I was a part of and I want to build that scouting and player development structure in San Diego.
"[Epstein] always gave me responsibility beyond my experience. He always had confidence in me. I guess the way I look at it is that I can thank him by building a great team here in San Diego and showing him how much he taught me."
For his part, Epstein said Monday that he thinks Hoyer has the ideal combination of skills for the job.
"Jed has been an immensely valuable member of our baseball [operations] team since joining the Red Sox in 2002," Epstein said.
"His combination of analytical ability, feel for the game, interpersonal skills and creativity helped make us tick, and he played a role in virtually every major decision we have made.
"His loyalty and friendship will be missed, and we know he will continue to make us proud."
Meanwhile, San Diego's hiring of Hoyer takes one of the game's most sought-after candidates off the market. Hoyer also interviewed for the Pittsburgh Pirates' GM job in 2007, declined an interview with the Seattle Mariners in 2008, and interviewed for the Washington Nationals' GM job this year.
And while his background is in quantitative analysis, Hoyer has become more schooled in the ways of Major League transactions, contracts, scouting and player development, essentially making him a hybrid type of GM who can balance statistical analysis with a scouting background.
"I think that really helps me coming in," Hoyer said. "I understand the enormity of the job. That being said, it's always a learning process.
"I'm confident that a year from now and three years from now, I'll keep getting better."
Doug Miller is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.