Posted on: January 12, 2012 8:30 pm
Easy to see why John Moores' anger flashed quickly at the owners' meetings on Thursday. He wants his money and he wants out of baseball.
But the riveting question now after fellow owners pushed the pause button on the impending transfer of the Padres from Moores to Jeff Moorad is, will it happen?
Or will Moorad be left standing in the on deck circle?
Commissioner Bud Selig cited "economic concerns" as the reason for the delay. Meanwhile, ownership sources with multiple clubs hesitated to predict where this thing will go next.
"Usually, when you get to this point, it's teed up," one person said. "The fact that it did not get voted on shows significant financial questions."
Translation: When a person is allowed to begin running a club, as Moorad was the Padres beginning in the spring of 2009, approval by other owners usually is just a formality.
The fact that there were enough "red flags" to leave the owners' executive committee asking for more answers, however, at best slows the process and keeps the Padres' finances flat and, at worst, could torpedo the entire sale. That would leave Moores, who had intended to divest the 51 percent he still owns in the club once the money owed by Moorad was deposited in December, back at the starting point.
Few want that, and though Moorad has made several enemies among owners from his days as an agent, those with knowledge of this snag say reasons are purely financial, not personal.
Selig promised Moores and Moorad that the process will move "expeditiously." The next quarterly owners' meeting is in May, though one person suggested Thursday that Selig could convene a vote via conference call in 60 or 90 days if the financial questions are answered.
Moores, who will receive about $530 million total for the Padres, a club he purchased in 1995, was angry enough at the delay that he refused to vote in favor of the two-year extension Selig received, which went 29-1 in the commissioner's favor.
Posted on: October 2, 2009 10:18 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2009 2:48 am
The San Diego Padres have fired Kevin Towers, the game's longest-tenured general manager, and will announce the move on Saturday, CBSSports.com has learned.
Towers, who was informed of the decision before Friday night's Padres-Giants game, was told by Moorad last month that the club "might begin a GM search." That was the first indication to Towers that his future with the club was in jeopardy. By Friday, that future was no more.
There is no indication yet whom Jeff Moorad, Padres chief executive officer, has in mind to replace Towers in what ranks as another jolt to a franchise that had become irrelevant during the waning months of former owner John Moores' administration and was only starting to recover.
One person with knowledge of the situation said he thinks Moorad has someone in mind and will work quickly to fill the void.
Among those who will be prominently linked to the vacancy will be Jerry DiPoto, director of player personnel for the Arizona, a person who worked closely with Moorad when Moorad was CEO in Arizona.
Others who could become candidates include Paul DePodesta, Padres special assistant for baseball operations; Jed Hoyer, Red Sox assistant GM; and Peter Woodfork, Diamondbacks' assistant general manager.
As for Towers, who has been in charge of the Padres since Nov. 17, 1995, if it is possible for a personnel move to be both surprising and not at the same time, this is it.
The decision comes as a Moorad-led ownership group gains control of the club from Moores. Major personnel moves typically are expected during a change in ownership.
Yet Towers, who is signed through 2010 and is due more than $1 million in salary next year, did some of his best work this season in quickly revamping a franchise gutted by a payroll purge into a club with good young players and a modicum of hope for the future.
A Padres' club that lost 99 games a year ago was 74-85 entering Friday's series opener with San Francisco.
Towers has overseen a dramatic player payroll ordered by Moores. The club hacked the payroll to $40 million this summer, from $73 million in 2008, and severed ties with franchise icon closer Trevor Hoffman in the process. Most recently, Towers dealt ace Jake Peavy to the Chicago White Sox at the July 31 trade deadline.
Following last season's crash-and-burn, Towers was given more room to work this spring and summer following club president Sandy Alderson's departure. Towers quickly made a flurry of moves that brought the Padres back to respectability far sooner than expected, acquiring such players as relievers Luke Gregerson (from St. Louis) and Edward Mujica (Cleveland), outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. (Milwaukee) and starters Sean Gallagher (Oakland) and Clayton Richard (White Sox).
With Towers essentially rebuilding the team on the fly, the Padres had gone 36-23 (.610) since July 28, a winning percentage that ranks fourth in the major leagues during that time and second in the NL.
It has been the brightest time since the Padres blew the NL West title in 2007 and lost a one-game playoff to the Colorado Rockies.
Before then, and long before the club's recent internal problems and payroll purge, Towers was the architect of the most successful period in Padres' history.
They won four of their five NL pennants under Towers, including the only back-to-back division titles in franchise history, in 2005 and 2006. They also won the 1998 NL pennant and appeared in only the club's second World Series ever with Towers in charge.
Yet Towers' long-term future under Moorad was never secure. Under Moorad in Arizona, the Diamondbacks interviewed Towers upon Joe Garagiola Jr.'s departure as GM in 2005 but hired Josh Byrnes instead.
With Towers out, Oakland's Billy Beane becomes the longest-tenured GM in the game.
And, Towers' dismissal is expected to be only the beginning of a housecleaning in the club's baseball operations department. Grady Fuson, vice-president of player development, is expected to be fired, though one source said Friday night he could remain in place until a new GM is named, at which time the GM likely would dismiss him. Bill Gayton, director of scouting, might be re-assigned as well.
Meantime, scout Chris Gwynn, who was a client of Moorad's when Moorad was an agent, is said to be well thought of and in line for a promotion -- possibly at least to the level of farm director.
Posted on: February 3, 2009 6:58 pm
Ace Jake Peavy's chances of remaining in San Diego for the 2009 season just improved markedly.
So, too, did Team USA's chances of retaining Peavy as part of its rotation for this spring's World Baseball Classic (if Peavy were traded, he's expected to opt out of the WBC out of obligation to a new employer).
And the fortunes of the Padres for '09 and beyond are far brighter today than they were yesterday.
That's the long (term) and short (term) of Jeff Moorad's agreement to purchase the Padres from beleaguered and soon-to-be-divorced owner John Moores, an agreement which was finalized Tuesday.
Call it a win-win-win deal for everyone involved whose name isn't John Moores.
The Padres had reached an untenable situation under Moores, whose cash flow has been reduced to a trickle as a result of the economy and his impending divorce.
In the view of San Diego fans, he never delivered on his pre-Petco Park insinuations (not promises, but definite insinuations) that the team would be financially competitive once it moved into a new ballpark.
Moores has steadfastly denied promising more than he could deliver, but perceptions usually are reality, and once Becky Moores filed for divorce last winter, the squeeze was on her soon-to-be-ex.
Whatever version of the truth you believe, the bottom line is this: Peavy's deal (three years, $52 million from 2010-2012) is just this side of a bargain-basement price for a true ace.
Nobody is expecting Moorad to become George Steinbrenner West. But the way it's been in San Diego, if he'd even become Mark Attanasio (owner of the Milwaukee Brewers), it would be a distinct improvement.
Posted on: November 11, 2008 6:33 pm
You can argue the merits of San Diego's apparent decision to bid farewell to a closer in the twilight of his career.
You cannot argue that icon Trevor Hoffman's request to meet with owner John Moores was anything but reasonable and should have been granted, and that the Padres are utterly ham-handed in showing the closer the door.
But then, that's the way this amateur-hour mess of a club is doing business these days as an unaccountable, absentee owner hides in the shadows while his messy divorce proceeds.
If the best Moores can do for a franchise icon is remain invisible behind club president Sandy Alderson as a one-year, $4 million contract is yanked from the table and Hoffman's request to meet with the owner is rebuffed, then he should sell the franchise sooner rather than later.
Or turn it over to his wife, Becky, in the divorce settlement.
Hoffman, baseball's all-time saves leader, earned $7 million last year while saving 30 games for a club that won only 63.
Following that 99-loss debacle in '08, the Padres won't contend in '09, either. So it's a reasonable question to ask what the point is in worrying about who's pitching the ninth innings, anyway. Let alone whether Hoffman, at 41, will be worth the multi-millions he'd be paid.
While the one-year, $4-million, incentive-based contract that was pulled wasn't exactly a slap in the face to Hoffman, the salary cut was a clear indication that the Padres weren't exactly viewing him as a must-have commodity.
From a purely baseball perspective, hey, that's show biz.
The problem here, however, is that Hoffman is a civic icon who, along with Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, is one of the two most important Padres in club history.
Beyond that, as the club's marketing department has leaned on him time and time again through both good seasons and bad, Hoffman has never grumbled. He's done whatever's been asked to help promote the club and baseball in San Diego -- hell, in China, too, for that matter. He was one of the most public faces last spring in the Padres-Dodgers promotional trip to that country. He's never been anything less than friendly, courteous, cooperative and stand-up.
Now, should that earn him a lifetime scholarship in Padre-ville?
No. In the end, with all players, you remove emotion and make baseball decisions. And if this is Hoffman's time to go, so be it. Nobody can play forever, no matter if he's still a very young 41. Lord knows, there was enough chirping on postgame radio shows every time he blew a save. Not everybody who follows the Padres will be sorry to see him go.
However. There is a way to do things, and this wasn't it.
It is not an owner's obligation to meet with every player who requests an audience.
But given what Hoffman has meant over the past 16 seasons in San Diego, the least Moores could do was haul his butt out of hiding to meet with Hoffman.
Especially since Hoffman's ascent after San Diego acquired him from Cincinnati during the Padres' Fire Sale of 1993 coincided with the return of the Padres after Moores rescued from the inept clutches of former owner Tom Werner.
If anybody knows Hoffman's importance, it should be Moores.
Now, maybe the conversation doesn't go how Hoffman wants it to go. Maybe the owner's message is simply, "Trevor, look. We're reducing payroll, and our baseball people say that your game has slipped too much and we're just not going to re-sign you. Thanks for everything, and you'll always have a place in this organization."
Maybe that's the message, and if it is, that's fine. Nobody plays forever. Some players, sad as it is, must be told when to go.
But this isn't the way to do it.
And the fact that the club has chosen this path says far more about the deterioration of Moores as an owner and as a human being than it does about the deterioration of Hoffman's skills.