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Moorad is done in SD, but GM Byrnes and Co. deserve to stay longterm

MESA, Ariz. -- The messy Padres' ownership situation was thrown into limbo when ownership hopeful Jeff Moorad was thrown out, leaving a lot of folks in San Diego what's happening. There's a lot of natural speculation that one or more of the losers in the Dodgers ownership derby may wind up with the Padres, but whoever eventually buys the franchise needs to bring stability to the front office by keeping general manager Josh Byrnes and his front office intact.

Moorad is done as a potential Padres owner, thanks to a strong faction of detractors among other owners, led by Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox, Ken Kendrick of the Diamondbacks and Arte Moreno of the Angels, plus the lost support of current Padres owner John Moores, who'd made the deal with Moorad in the first place but turned against Moorad in recent weeks. "I've never consistently been so wrong about anything that's happened to me,'' Moores told the San Diego Union-Tribune about his original support of Moorad, who didn't return a text for comment. It was only in January when Moores was so bitter about the deal with Moorad being delayed he temporarily withheld a vote to support commissioner Bud Selig's extension.

There were also continuing questions about whether Moorad had the money, and word is Moores came to suspect that Moorad was going to need the Padres' new TV money to complete the deal, money that is to go to whoever owns the team, anyway. Moores may figure that money would have been his. It also is reasonable to assume Moores will get more than $500 million from the next sale agreement, considering the new TV money and escalating Dodgers price tag (at least $1.5 billion), which he hopes comes soon.

Moorad surely managed to make a few enemies, but that doesn't mean all his decisions were wrong. He has been left to finalize the new lucrative TV deal the Padres need, though Moorad's office has indeed been cleaned out, Darren Smith of San Diego radio station XX1090 reported. The call to hire Byrnes, known as a GM both with the Diamondbacks and Padres as a trade maker with intregrity, was one of the smarter moves Moorad made in his three weird years in San Diego. Byrnes' contract with the Padres runs through 2016.

There are understandably some concerned or at least curious folks in San Diego's front office, but the execs are on the right path and by all rights should not be in jeopardy. When Moorad came into power (temporarily it turns out) he fired longtime Padres GM Kevin Towers, and Towers wound up going to the rival Diamondbacks, where he is doing a superb job. The new real owner, whoever that is, needs to show more respect for Byrnes, who is contract through 2016 and is off to a nice start, building on a couple good drafts by former GM Jed Hoyer (Byrnes assisted on the last one) by acquiring some young players with excellent potential and locking up solid players with reasonable deals.

Folks around baseball are suggesting there's a chance one of the losers of the Dodgers derby winds up with the Padres, though that doesn't necessarily follow. The final three finalist groups in the Dodgers bidding are the Stevie Cohen-Patrick-Soon Shiong group, the Magic Johnson-Stan Kasten-Mark Walter group and Stan Kroenke, but there were close to 10 viable ownership teams going for the Dodgers, including one headed by former superagent and current White Sox adviser Dennis Gilbert.

Byrnes, one of the most frequent traders among GMs, looks like he may have made a great swap when he talented, youngish righthander Mat Latos to Cincinnati for pitchers Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger, catcher Yasmani Grandal and first baseman Yonder Alonso. The trade of first base prospect Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs for hard-throwing pitcher Andy Cashner looks like it may work well, too.

Alonso is a better fit than Rizzo for PETCO because Rizzo sprays the ball around and isn't a classic pull power hitter. Cashner has been the talk of spring by hitting 100 mph in each of his outings and will man the eighth inning this year before possibly becoming a starter next year.

Moorad's failed ownership bid should not be see as any reflection on Byrnes, who deserves to see through what he's started in San Diego.

 
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