Expect good things from Jeff Moorad
with the San Diego Padres.
Call it a case of watching his work with the Diamondbacks. Call it a gut feeling from watching ownership transfers for over a decade. But in either case, I see good things for the San Diego Padres from Jeff Mooradâ€™s ownership group, a group which includes former NFL star Troy Aikman as a limited partner, Alfred B. Baldwin, Richard Barry, Dan and Denise Costa, Patrick and Joanne Graham, John M. McEvoy, Robert M. Piccinini, Jay D. Stein, Wayne T. Seltzer and Tom Davin, the CEO of Panda Restaurants.
For one, Moorad will not be jumping directly into the ownership role. He will have several years before he gets to that point, and will have John Moores available to help with the transition.
Moorad also has the unique ability to understand both sides of the baseball table. He is the only owner in baseball that was once a player agent (and a powerful one, at that), and has his experiences with the Diamondbacks to work from.
You also have to credit Moorad and the rest of the front office staff of the Diamondbacks that had to dig the club out of a tremendous hole left behind by Jerry Colangelo. Colangelo brought Phoenix a World Series ring in 2001, but he did so by backloading contracts, something that hamstrung the club until recently. Moorad was key to getting those contracts off the books, getting his staff to focus on developing talent, and going the Moneyball route with veteran free agents.
This isnâ€™t to say that there wonâ€™t be challenges for Mooradâ€™s group. There is the matter of losing 99 games last season. Thereâ€™s also getting past that mark after John Moores dumped payroll.
The Padres had an Opening Day player payroll of $73,677,617, which ranked third in the NL West behind the Dodgers ($118,536,038) and Giants ($76,904,500). However, by season end, the Padres had slashed $2,465,435 off of the player payroll to $71,212,182, last in the Division by more than $3 million.
Moorad will have to work with Moores and GM Kevin Towers to get the team back into contention, and the assumption is that do so, the player payroll will have to inch back up. That â€śinching upâ€ť might include Jake Peavey who the Padres tried desperately to move to the Chicago Cubs.
Speaking of the Cubs, Moorads arrival in San Diego may make the Cubs a big benefactor. Word is that when CEO Sandy Alderson resigned yesterday from the Padres as part of Mooradâ€™s arrival, he will be picked up by Thomas Ricketts once the sale process for the Cubs is completed.
So, Padres fans, I would look for good things from the Padres after Mooradâ€™s arrival. It may not be this season, or the season after, but shortly, things should begin to turn back around for San Diego.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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