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The Anti-Alderson: Moorad at least technically answers fan questions

April 29th, 2009 by Melvin

Fans put off by former CEO Sandy Alderson’s frank, earnest, and no holds barred oratory style got what was coming to them today as new Padres CEO Jeff Moorad responded to fans’ questions. Rather vaguely, for the most part.

I’ll admit I can understand the need to be cuddled. Protected. Lovey dovied. Especially someone of the casual fan variety. In fact, even as a guy who would prefer a direct response from management, even if that means a risk of situations and answers changing down the road, but that’s exactly it. Details are unpredictable.That type open of communication is great for those who understand and pay attention to realities, but in the broad scheme of an entire fan base it can hurt the organization as a whole.

In this interview Jeff Moorad brings the boring, the bland. Enjoy it, because you asked for it.

What does Moorad have in store?

That diatribe aside, I’m happy to report Moorad in this q&a session did answer many of my questions about his role. Until this point, I was pretty neutral about him coming on board. Sandy Alderson as President and CEO satisfied me, even in light of the morbid 2008 season. It did become clear to myself and many others that John Moores’ time as owner needed to end. If the new owner has different ideas for the team presidency, thems the breaks. I get it.

Change for the sake of change, however, is stupid. Being excited for something about which you know no details doesn’t make sense. That’s what Moorad was. Unless I missed something, nobody in the media ever bothered to explain, or ask and “report”, as they apparently call it in the businesss, on what kind of philosophy this guy is all about.

We did learn early on, and was confirmed in the q&a, he believes in investing heavily into amateur talent through the draft and internationally. Well, that’s a good start. But it doesn’t cover everything, not by a long shot.

Rumors swirled that Moorad is a hands on type executive, insofar as intervening with his baseball people in the Diamondbacks organization and lobbying for the boneheaded Eric Byrnes extension. You’ll have to forgive me, but that extension represents all that is completely idiotic and irrational about the shortsighted thinking that pervades the old ways of baseball. Moorad rewarded short-term fan popularity and flash in exchange for the realistic production one would expect from a player like Byrnes. Hearing about it sent a chill down my spine.

Visions of my beloved Padres turning into a small budget version of the Seattle Mariners danced in my head, with owners who think they know baseball pulling strings based on outdated thinking from their 1976 mainstream baseball strategies. 61wins and 101 losses on a $118 million dollar payroll. It wasn’t just the Mariners’ results though. Their entire mindset and philosophy, until recently, was garbage. Like the Eric Byrnes extension. Screw that. I don’t want that.

Luckily, Moorad’s response to mine and similar questions about his role and philosophy seem promising.

MelvinNieves: Hey Jeff. Will you be involved in much player personnel decision-making? If so, what is your philosophy on talent evaluation? Do you believe in the more advanced metrics?

j_moorad: Very little — I believe in letting the club’s GM take a leadership role in all personnel decisions — I’ll be available as a resource as needed. I do believe in any and all forms of scouting, old-school or sabermetrics included.

Very good then. Leave the baseball to the baseball guys. Not surprisingly, he skipped my inquiry about the Eric Byrnes situation. That’s ok. Hopefully the rumor wasn’t true. If it was, it seems he’s learned from it.

There’s still no indication Mr. Moorad will leave the right baseball guys in charge, but that’s a question he smartly will look into and put off until the offseason. And we know he understands there’s a place for stats and a place for scouts. Cheers to that.

Other Stuff

  • Right off the bat, reader 23gonzalez wonders about a long term deal for the actual Adrian Gonzalez. “Why wait until 2010?”, is Moorad’s response.
  • miatamx5 is curious, as are we, about the possibility of new uniforms. Preferably brown will make a triumphant return. A major uniform change like that does not appear on the horizon, Moorad replies. “I’m a big fan of the Padres colors — unlike Arizona, where we changed the colors completely, the only thing I’m open to is an occasional tweak to the designs.” We need to get started suggesting some tweaks.
  • I asked how close the team needs to be to contention in order to add payroll. “Within striking range — if the deadline was upon us today, we’d be open to adding an appropriate player or two.” That kind of answers my question, the cool part is that quote was used as the caption for the article.
  • Later in the chat, I was curious to how the PETCO debt affected the sale of the club, and the year to year finances. “…We look at it as a large “rent” payment and accept it as the team’s part of a great stadium project.” A hard question to answer in this dumb little chat no doubt, but not the kind of answer I was looking for.

Lots of other questions and non-answers, including a non-answer about moving the PETCO park fences. Moorad does respond to some personal questions, if you’re in to that kind of thing.

Posted in dear jeff moorad | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “The Anti-Alderson: Moorad at least technically answers fan questions”

  1. Thinking about it, the Eric Burns extension scenario reminds me a lot of the Padres’ situation with Dave Roberts.

    Both are high energy, exciting, fan favorite players. The Diamondbacks screwed up royally. Kevin Towers, on the understand, played his hand perfectly.

    He got 2 years of phenomenal, career year type production from Roberts. In the face of intense fan scrutiny, he let Roberts walk knowing his age and career norms meant a dropoff is likely. Which is exactly what happened.

    Well played Kevin. That’s the definition of Moneyball.

  2. fifthandlaurel says:

    I share some of the same fears you do, and here’s to hoping he’s good on his word and doesn’t get too involved in those kind of decisions. But I’ve heard Moorad go on record a couple times now on 1090 and has repeatedly said that he was never “hands on” in Arizona. He most certainly was involved with the Byrnes deal; evidence of which can be found on just about every site announcing the deal.

    Granted, the Byrnes deal is only one example, but there’s implication in the Arizona press regarding his involvement in other deals as well. And judging from a recent article in the Arizona press, it sounds like the Padres front office wasn’t the only one operating in a dysfunctional manner:

    “(One Diamondback official – who shall remain nameless – had this look on his face the day the [Eric Byrnes] deal was announced. The kind of look a dad might have when his ex-wife buys their daughter a pony for her birthday. A look that said, ‘not my idea, I knew he was a career .261 hitter’)”

  3. Jacob says:

    heh…Despite the textbook answers, I still appreciate the interview. His answers were smart; albeit predictable. Yeah, Byrnes is a “gamer” (OPS+ 96). Juan Pierre may actually be better (certainly, more durable); which is sad. Personally, I don’t think any player is worth more than $10Million.

    • “His answers were smart; albeit predictable.” Absolutely.

      Moorad might not have been refreshing in his openness the way Sandy was, but he impressed me in every other regard.

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