In an otherwise generic “camp report,” Scott Miller at CBS Sports dropped this bombshell:
New owners so far have failed to make any significant first impression, and for good reason: This team is broke. Former owner John Moores and temp Jeff Moorad lifted $200 million off the top of the club’s new cable television deal on their way out the door, leaving the Padres, once again, cash poor. Marquis was the club’s sole major-league free agent signing over the winter. Publicly, the Padres spoke of a weak free agent market that was overpriced. But multiple sources say the dire financial situation forced the Padres to sit on the sidelines this winter after re-signing Carlos Quentin and Huston Street last summer. Money that had been the light at the end of the tunnel, that was supposed to be pumped into the club, instead disappeared with Moores and Moorad.
As you might recall, Dave Winfield said basically the same thing last month:
MLB.com: What is your take on the new Padres ownership?
Winfield: They’re good. Everyone is not quite in place yet. Ownership is. But key executives, a couple are in, a couple are out. But this is their first full year coming up. We’ll see what we can make happen down there.
MLB.com: They haven’t done a lot of shifting around of bodies on the Major League roster yet.
Winfield: No, and it’s hard to compare with what the Dodgers have done and teams like that. Everything pales in comparison. The Dodgers have an awful lot of money to spend. That’s what it takes. These guys paid $800 million to buy the Padres. You know that always doesn’t leave a lot of money to make the moves that you want.
MLB.com: Between TV dollars and overall revenue, the Padres have more money than they used to.
Winfield: Yeah, and the team costs more money than it used to. We’ll see what works out.
(Emphasis mine again.)
It should be noted that Padres owner Ron Fowler publicly denied Winfield’s claim.