SBD/Issue 132/Franchises

Moorad Takes Control Of Padres As Sale Is Formally Completed

Moorad Will Acquire 100%
Of Padres Within Five Years
Padres Owner John Moores Thursday formally completed the sale of the team to former D'Backs General Partner & CEO Jeff Moorad, who will immediately assume the role of Padres Vice Chair & CEO. Moorad and his ownership group will acquire 100% of the franchise over a period of up to five years, subject to MLB approval (Padres). Moorad unveiled a list of 10 of the 12 investors in the team, which includes Pro Football HOFer and Fox NFL analyst Troy Aikman. The AP's Bernie Wilson reports several San Diego-area business execs "also are involved in the group," though Moorad said that he "wanted to make sure the group didn't become too unwieldy." Moorad: "We put together a group of friends and acquaintances who share both a passion for baseball and a passion for business." Moores, who will remain as Padres Chair, is "essentially financing the deal," and he also "remains the control person in charge of the team." Moores: "I think it's a bit unusual. I think it's more than a bit unusual. These are bizarre times." Moores said that "approximately $100[M] has changed hands so far," and that the "structured sale can be accelerated or slowed down" (AP, 3/27). MLB.com's Barry Bloom noted the transaction at this point "didn't have to be approved by the remainder of the owners because the control person at the head of the ballclub didn't change," but when that change occurs, the move "will have to come to a vote" (MLB.com, 3/26). The SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE offers a list of the 10 known investors in the club. The people associated with Hall Of Fame Racing, of which Moorad is co-Owner, are denoted by asterisks.

PADRES INVESTORS
Troy Aikman* Patrick and Joanne Graham
Alfred Baldwin John McEvoy
Richard Barry Robert Piccinini*
Dan and Denise Costa Jay Stein
Tom Davin* Wayne Seltzer

GRADUAL TRANSITION: In San Diego, Tom Krasovic notes Moorad "will report to Moores," and Moores also will "continue to represent the Padres on major league committees." Krasovic cites a source as saying that Moorad will be "very limited" in his ability to bring D'Backs staffers with him to the Padres. The source said that Moorad and the D'Backs "have an understanding that he will not raid the organization" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/27). In California, John Maffei notes while former MLBer Eric Karros and D'Backs VP/Player Development A.J. Hinch "have been mentioned as men Moorad would like to add to the Padres organization," Moorad said that he will "use the 2009 season to evaluate the Padres staff." Meanwhile, Padres President & COO Dick Freeman "will retire soon" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 3/27). ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes Moorad “can give clear orders about where he wants to take the Padres in the future, a stark contrast to the leadership of Moores last season.” Moores, who was in the midst of a divorce, was “rarely seen or heard from in the Padres organization last season" (ESPN.com, 3/27).

Moorad's Goal Is To Compete On $70-80M
Payroll With Players, Including Peavy
MOOR OF THE SAME? In San Diego, Tim Sullivan writes the "philosophical similarities between the club's incoming and outgoing owners are more striking than their differences." While Moores "described the transition as a 'sea change' ... it does not appear that Moorad is poised to immediately make waves." Moorad: "The goal here would be to essentially compete on a $70-80[M] payroll going forward." Sullivan writes the picture Moorad painted Thursday was "one of organic payroll growth, of young players becoming pricier through maturity and performance instead of having a budget buttressed by massive investments in the free-agent market." Moorad replaces Sandy Alderson as Padres CEO, but he said that he is "not ready to start rolling heads." Moorad is "more focused on the long haul than the quick fix." In the short term, the Padres are "going to be selling infrastructure -- their academy in the Dominican Republic, their investments in international and domestic amateurs -- and relying on reduced costs and revenue-sharing to balance a budget confronting the twin challenges of major-league lousiness and global recession." Sullivan writes the plan is "not sexy," but it is a "business model Moores and Moorad believe in" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/27).

END OF AN ERA: In California, Jay Paris writes the story of the transaction is "more Moores than Moorad." Moores is San Diego's "one-time knight in the shinning armor, who never heard a disparaging word." He "donated money around town and built a winner of a ballpark and a winner of a franchise." And while Moores Thursday "told some jokes" at the announcement, he "didn't look happy." Paris: "While he needled sportswriters, he must have felt a prick of pain from transferring a true love to someone else" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 3/27). The AP's Wilson notes Moores "looked melancholy sitting next to Moorad" at Thursday's news conference (AP, 3/27).

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