Padres owner Jeff Moorad: payroll ain't everything

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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.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.