The Bar: Reaction to Bill Center article on Padres finances

Last week Scott Miller of CBS asserted that the Padres were “broke”. Actually he asserted that they are “broke”.

After speaking with the Padres during the week, the U-T’s Bill Center wrote an article on Sunday morning about the state of finances for the Padres.

On short notice we rallied together at the Bar to discuss, keeping the following in mind:

What is your reaction to this article? Does the explanation make you feel better or worse about the most recent off-season, or where the team could be headed in the next few years?

Vocal Minority (David)

When speculation is that the starting rotation on opening day will be Richard, Volquez, Marquis, Stults, and (insert arm), I take great issue with Garf’s “We’re not going to do it just to prove something or make a splash.” Especially when the team’s stated objective was to add two pitchers in the off-season. Addressing a need is not “making a splash”, it’s addressing a need.

Vocal Minority (Nate)

After reading this, Scott Miller’s piece, and listening to Miller on Darren Smith’s show, I honestly don’t know if the team is broke or not. Center’s sources, the Padres, haven’t earned any trust, while Miller’s sources are other teams’ front office personnel speculating based on dealings with Josh Byrnes this off-season. I’m not confident in any of them.

I think what this comes down to, whether they are broke or not, is the Padres either not understanding the psychology of what’s happened to the fan base over the last 5 years or not caring. Scott Miller gets it. He thinks the Padres payroll should be ranking in the 15-20 range, right now. He thinks the new ownership has wasted their first impression, and with that their chance to change the culture of the Padres in the community. Bill Center? Just happy to report whatever the Padres tell him. That’s the difference between a national writer who just happens to live in town and a beat writer whose newspaper has a co-dependent relationship with the team.

Are the Padres broke? I don’t know. Should it matter to the fans? I don’t think so. We should be demanding better, without excuses.

RJ’s Fro (Rick)

Like I’ve said all along, either the team is taking a ton of heat for Byrnes’ shortcomings or he’s taking a ton of heat for theirs. Either way, one of them is dropping the ball and making the other look bad.

VM (David)

It is interesting that team brass has been very clear about Byrnes being responsible for the makeup of the club, as the heat from fans and (national) media has increased.

Avenging Jack Murphy

The Center article delivered nothing short of what we should expect as fans — a message that all is fine and well in Padre land. It’s a message delivered straight from the front office, with Center as the conduit, so it didn’t surprise me. What I find irritating is to hear that Josh Byrnes was given the green light to go after Justin Upton. It sounds like the perfect thing to say . . . after you weren’t able to get Justin Upton.

Having said that I don’t think it’s all as dire as Scott Miller made it sound with his “their broke” statement. As Nate pointed out, in the interview with Darren Smith today, Miller’s perception of the Padres financial standing is based on talking to other organizations. How much do they really know?

One thing I took from the Smith/Miller interview today was how big of a joke Jeff Moorad is viewed to be around the league. And he hired Josh Byrnes twice.

Sacrifice Bunt (Melvin)

As I discussed recently, the important question is how valuable wins are to the team in 2013. An optimist would say that the team doesn’t expect to compete and doesn’t see much value in a few extra wins this season. Another view is that the team can’t afford a few extra wins which have increased in price, perhaps predictably, this off-season.

And I agree with Nate’s point as well–having a made-up mind about who you believe at this point is absurd. Sources can provide misleading or incomplete information, while obviously Bill Center’s sources with the Padres aren’t exactly neutral. We all have our biases leading us toward whatever conclusion fits our worldview, none of which offers substantive evidence.

It’s also worth mentioning that former Padres CEO Sandy Alderson made several on-air comments about how much negativity he sees from San Diego fans compared to other cities. I think the current Padres management may have overestimated how much goodwill they can expect from fans. We’ve been through some shit.

Ghost of Ray Kroc

My issue with this article boils down to one quote from Tom Garfinkel:

“Ownership has been nothing but supportive,” Padres CEO and President Tom Garfinkel said this week. “They’ve indicated that they’ll deficit spend beyond the revenues if the right deal is there.”

“Deficit spend?” I don’t want to hear anything that even remotely follows that concept. If they can’t afford to spend, that’s one thing. If they’re spending money they don’t have, that’s another thing entirely. Nothing good can come out of that. That’s how Fire Sales get started. Bad juju.

Son of a Duck

One media outlet reports that the Padres are broke. Another refutes it. Only one of these is right, and we have no way of knowing which. That this has become a topic of conversation speaks to credibility issues facing both the local baseball team and the local media.

The Padres did nothing to address a terrible starting rotation. Dan Haren scares the heck out of me, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing Edwin Jackson come here. And the continuing saga of whether or not they will extend Chase Headley is a sore point for many fans.

The articles I’ve read don’t change my opinion of the Padres’ off-season. They did not improve their short-term prospects (although I’m not sure anything would have improved those enough to make a difference) but also did not jeopardize their long-term position. I’m actually okay with that, except for the part where we have to watch a lot of bad pitching in 2013.


I don’t know if we can say only one is right, SOAD. The truth is somewhere in the middle. The Padres aren’t broke but they definitely aren’t in a position to make a deal that could be a long-term loser.


Which is where that Garfinkel quote comes into play for me. Long-term loser is how I see Jackson. No way he’s actually worth what he was asking. I’m actually glad that the Padres wouldn’t give Jackson a 4th year. If Haren scares Geoff, Jackson scares me. Especially at 4 years. The fact that he got 4 years from the Cubs amazes me.


Thanks, AJM. That’s a better way of expressing the point I was trying to make about credibility. I’ll amend my original statement of “Only one of these is right, and we have no way of knowing which” to “At most, one of these is right, and we have no way of knowing which (if either).” This is less comforting but probably more accurate.

 Sacrifice Bunt (Ray)

I’ve mentioned this before but I fail to see how Jackson is an enticing option at three-years and a nuclear at four. Is his arm going to fall off at the age of 32? But that’s not really here nor there.

What I find interesting is that Scott Miller is now the second person, after Dave Winfield, to come out and say that the new ownership group doesn’t have anymore money. Their word does not make necessarily it so but at the same time, what do they have to gain from lying? I imagine that it’s lot less than Fowler and the O’Malleys, if they are in fact lying.


It should also be pointed out that Josh Byrnes wasn’t sure if they could deal for Justin Upton because he would be making over $14 million in 2014 and 2015 which was a bit pricey. Yet ownership is now saying that they gave Byrnes the green light to go after Upton. Which is it?

And I have it upon good authority that Edwin Jackson is targeted for self-destruction on Labor Day of 2015. So technically he falls apart prior to hitting age 32.

As far as the four year contract thing goes, it appears to be a matter of organizational philosophy. It’s a built in excuse to not over-commit. But with a philosophy like this why would any free-agent ever choose San Diego as a destination?

SB (Ray)

The Upton rumor seems like a distraction. He wouldn’t have filled a need and considering what Towers eventually got for him, he probably would’ve cost Headley or Gyorko.


Don’t think of Upton as Upton. Think of it as player “X” who will command $14M in both 2014 and 2015. Garf says ownership gave the green-light for discussions to take place in the Center article yet Byrnes hedged on the idea a while back on account of dollar commitments. I don’t like the inconsistency.

SB (Ray)

Right. Specifically, Byrnes balked at the idea of paying Upton $14M in a discussion with the talking heads at MLBN.

VM (David)

I agree that Upton is a distraction, which goes to show that this group really doesn’t understand the San Diego fan. At this point, we’ve built up an immunity to “look, we tried.”

SB (Ray)

Which is particularly worthy of note because Fowler has not missed an opportunity to remind us about just how San Diego he is.


[passes out]


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