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.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.