Here’s a brief summary. Werner took over the Padres when they were on the cusp of respectability, as their fans report, but after a couple of lacklustre seasons his group embarked on a slash-and-burn policy first of selling off the players, and eventually of selling the club itself at a profit. When this infamous "fire sale" began, their experienced manager Joe McIlvaine was replaced with Randy Smith, who at 29 became the youngest manager in Major League Baseball. Baseball expert Geoff Young's take on that appointment is this: "Presumably such a young and inexperienced person would be less reluctant to balk at his boss' orders to cut payroll regardless of the damage it might inflict on the franchise's ability to compete."
Before a month was out, Smith would be following orders to sell off the team's stars. First it was third baseman Gary Sheffield, just as the fans were voting for Sheffield to be part of their 25th Anniversary Dream Team. The following month it was their star hitter Fred McGriff. As a result of these Werner-enforced changes, the Padres' on-pitch performances plummeted and this formerly promising side ended up losing more than 100 games in a season for the first time since 1974.
Werner sold the Padres a year and a half later. Under the new owners, young Randy Smith was able to buy his first players that didn't involve making payroll cuts. He made some astute buys at that time, according to Young, who says "it's difficult to overstate [Smith's] positive contributions to the Padres even as his bosses were busy stripping the organization of identifiable talent. For that, San Diego fans should be grateful."