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.

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.