Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Padres Go For Broke.

The San Diego Padres are in some kind of a meltdown. The team lost 99 games last year. Published stories indicate that payroll next year will be in the $40 million range, which is a bit more than half of payroll last year.

The team has let Trevor Hoffman go. To be frank, that's probably the right thing to do. Hoffman has lost his edge. Plus, he's a closer. Even when he's on, he's no good to the Padres unless the team has the lead entering the ninth inning. Better to put the money elsewhere and give Heath Bell a shot at closing.

The real heartache for fans is the effort to push Jake Peavy out the door. Peavy is the team's front line starter. Without him, there's just one truly top of the line starter on the team in Chris Young. With Peavy, the Pads have the edge going 2 out of 5 games they play.

Peavy trade talks are going nowhere, which is hurting the team's effort to rebuild the rest of the lineup.
"And for a team coming off a 99-loss season in 2008, there are several areas that need to be filled, as general manager Kevin Towers wants to add starting pitching, relief pitching and shore up his bench for 2009.

"But not knowing if the team can or will move Peavy and his $11 million contract for 2009 has all but left Towers in a standby mode until the future of the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner is decided.

"'That's pretty much it,' Towers said. 'It's certainly a large sum of money we would be moving. Once that's decided, we will have a better idea of what holes we would be plugging.'" (Here.)
It's obvious to anybody that Padres management is moving Peavy purely for financial reasons. The team needs to shed payroll. The question is why?

My guess is it's tied to owner John Moores' divorce. California is a community property state and so everything he and his wife owned must be split 50-50. (Well, there can be exceptions to that, but let's not worry about those.) My guess is that shedding payroll is part of an effort to drive down the value of the Padres to improve John Moores' bargaining position when it comes time to swap assets with his wife in the property settlement. The less the Padres are worth, the less John Moores has to give up in exchange, if he wants to keep the team for himself.


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