CEO says Padres will increase payroll to at least $50 million in 2012

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Padres chief executive officer Jeff Moorad said yesterday that the team’s payroll will rise to at least $50 million in 2012, adding that “our long-term goal is to operate at $70 million.”

That would be a big raise over this season’s $45 million payroll, but even $70 million would rank just 20th among all MLB teams this season and figures to rank even lower by the time the Padres actually reach that figure.

Much of that increase will come from the team’s new television contract, which goes into effect next season, but Moorad explained that the Padres don’t plan to be significant players in the free agent market because “we’re going to run an efficient business on and off the field.”

All of which makes it seem pretty unlikely that they’d commit to Heath Bell on a long-term contract unless the impending free agent gave them a sizable hometown discount after making $7.5 million this year.

Astros assistant GM Mike Elias reported to be next Orioles general manager

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Astros assistant GM Mike Elias will be the new general manager of the Orioles “barring a change of heart.”

Elias, 35, has been the Astros’ assistant general manager since August 2016. He had previously served as Houston’s scouting director and, before that, as a scout for the Cardinals. He was part of the team that came over from the Cardinals when Jeff Luhnow joined the Astros.

If he does take the O’s job his work will certainly be cut out for him. Baltimore was historically bad in 2018, finishing 47-115 thanks to a roster full of expensive, past-their-prime players and an underdeveloped farm system. He’ll have to hit the ground running too, as he’ll not join the team until nearly two months into the club’s offseason, having had no time to assess its needs and personnel. Oh, and the Winter Meetings begin in a little over three weeks.