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Padres owner Jeff Moorad: payroll ain't everything

Aug 10, 2010, 1:01 PM EDT

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.

  1. birdmancometh - Aug 10, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    I agree, but don’t go overboard. As usuall, the truth is in the middles ground. It is A LOT easier to build a good team when you have money to spend. It can be done with less, but every decision has to be correct. The Yanks, Phils, Sox, Tigers, Dodgers, ect, can make an $8 mil dollar mistake and correct it with a $10 mil signing. If the Padres make an $8 mil mistake they are stuck until the end of the contract.

  2. mike wants wins - Aug 10, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Smart decisions with no money, vs average decisions with lots of money? Bad decisions with no money, or bad decisions with lots of money? Smart decisions and lots of money? Every time, more money gives you a better chance to win, as you can afford to cust mistakes, or take on salary when others are dumping it, or just outspend another team for Casey Blake – leaving that team with Nick Punto….Spending that much money on Casey Blake may be a bad idea, but if you have the money, and spend it on Blake (instead of spending less on a lesser guy, which is “right” because of the value), aren’t you better off with the better player, even if you “overspent”? You keep posting these thoughts on payroll not mattering much, and I keep wondering if you really believe it….You don’t think the Padres would be better right now if they had another $20MM to spend?

  3. Joe - Aug 10, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Nowhere in here does it say that money doesn’t give you an advantage. It says that money isn’t the ONLY advantage – you can win on a low payroll and you can lose on a big payroll.

  4. The Real Shuxion - Aug 10, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    Name me a team that did…..What the 2003 Marlins? Shut up.

  5. Jeff J. Snider - Aug 10, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Sorry, Joe, but when Moorad says, “The media and some fans would have you believe if you spend more money you have a better chance to win,” he is clearly implying that he believes the inverse is true. And the inverse of “spending more money gives you a better chance to win” is “spending more money DOESN’T give you a better chance to win.”

  6. mike wants wins - Aug 10, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Except Craig’s conclusion from these, over and over, is that there is no reason for any type of salary cap or other effort to level the playing field for the teams in MLB, that some mythical free market rule the day (which doesn’t exist, as the entries to barrier in NY are many, and some are even MLB imposed).

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