Padres’ owner Jeff Moorad sat for an interview recently and reflected a bit on the team’s unexpected success:
“I think there’s a misconception about payroll,” said Moorad, who
made his name as a sports agent inking record deals from Orange County.
“The media and some fans would have you believe if you spend more money
you have a better chance to win.”
He points to winning teams with smaller payrolls, including the Tampa
Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins and Arizona Diamondbacks,
where he was chief executive and part owner from 2004 to 2009.
And I think Moorad is right about that. It’s not all about spending money. Smart decisions on low money will beat dumb decisions on big money every day. The problem is when smart decisions meet big money. And really, the only teams doing that are the Red Sox and the Yankees. When your competition is the Frank McCourt Dodgers, however, you can overcome the payroll deficiency.
Now here’s hoping that, in the likely event things turn south for the Padres sometime in the next few years, Moorad will shout down those who would play the “the Padres can’t compete on their payroll!” card. And hoping that he doesn’t cave in to the temptation to play it himself.
Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.
Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.
Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.
As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.
Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.