"When a team performs this way, changes are gonna be made," said third baseman Chase Headley. "It was out there, it was kind of hanging over your head and you're wondering."
Many players, though, were still saddened to hear that the person who vouched to bring them to San Diego is now without a job himself.
"It's sad to see Josh go," said starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, who was acquired by Byrnes in a trade with the Cubs for Anthony Rizzo in January 2012, the first offseason of Byrnes' tenure. "He gave me an opportunity to start here and I'm grateful for that. But it's out of my control."
In the recent past, the Padres have largely opted for changes in the coaching staff rather than wide-scale changes regarding the front office. Headley has worked with five hitting coaches since he debuted with the team in 2007.
But on Sunday, when the team's owners told players of Byrnes' dismissal, they also assured them that manager Bud Black would retain his post at least through the end of the season, and that there were no current plans to shuffle the coaching staff, either.
"Just to come out of that with reassurance and not be wondering if something else is coming with that, I think that gives everybody a little peace of mind," Headley said. "Nobody's walking on eggshells now, kind of wondering what's coming next."
With the July 31 Trade Deadline looming, questions can swirl around struggling teams as to which players will be shipped off to contenders in exchange for prospects with an eye to the future.
But the team's ownership group stressed Sunday that the Padres would not make those type of moves simply to tear down the foundation of what's been built at San Diego over the past several years after the franchise has endured periods of forced payroll-shedding as a relatively small-market team.
"I've been around for the fire sales -- this is not a fire sale," said executive chairman Ron Fowler. "This is not a step back. We're doing this to move forward. We're calling it a reset and that's exactly what it is."
They didn't deny, however, that they would give interim general managers Omar Minaya, A.J. Hinch and Fred Uhlman Jr. the freedom to make moves if they think it improves the team.
"This is an organization that is being built and constructed to compete year in and year out," said team president and CEO Mike Dee. "Obviously, there will be a flurry of activity with us and other teams over the next six weeks as we get closer to the [Trade] Deadline."
For now, the players themselves are just trying to focus on what they can do to climb back into the playoff picture and make the Trade Deadline a quiet time for San Diego.
"I don't know what our situation will be [at the Deadline]," Cashner said. "We definitely haven't lived up to what we expect of ourselves. But as the season goes on, it's a grind, and you try to work for tomorrow. Our job is to win ballgames."