Who Is New Padres Owner Jeff Moorad?

Eric GomezAnalyst IFebruary 6, 2009

Perhaps you should hold off on the parade just yet, Padre fans.

Sure, it'll be nice to receive clarity and stability after a rocky year, current owner John Moores' wife Becky filed for divorce exactly one year ago, sending the magnate's life (and his franchise) into a tailspin.

With the team taking a financial hit destined to shore up some of the owner's finances, the Padres limped to a 63-99 finish, good for last in the NL West, and the team's worst record since 1993.

Oddly enough, 1993 was also a "fire sale" year that concluded with the team changing owners after a long period of shedding payroll.

When Moores purchased the club, it was worth less than $100 million. Today, he's selling it for close to $500 million to Jeff Moorad.

How did he do it? In Moores' 15 years as owner, San Diego has won four division titles and made the World Series in 1998. That season was also the catalyst for the team's new stadium, Petco Park, which opened in 2004 after a lengthy series of battles with city legislators.

Getting a little nervous about Mr. Moorad?

You shouldn't be. As the Diamondbacks CEO and minority owner since 2005, he's run the team's day-to-day operations for the past four seasons, leading Arizona to the NLCS in 2007.

His first job was reorganizing the Diamondbacks' horrid finances, adopting a strategy similar to the later years of the Moores era in San Diego, with almost identical payroll structures and budgets.

Last season, Moorad's D-Backs stumbled (as did most of the NL West), but still managed a handful of games out of first place, as the Los Angeles Dodgers "Mannyed" their way into the playoffs with a record of 84-78.

Speaking of Manny, as a former player "super agent" (he allegedly inspired part of the Jerry Maguire character played by Tom Cruise), Moorad has plenty of experience in the art of negotiation, his opus coming in 2000, when he represented the aforementioned Ramirez.

Manny received $160 million over eight years.

Moorad's passion for baseball and his desire of being completely responsible for a club led him to seek out the Padres over the offseason.

While not exactly taking a page out of Barack Obama's playbook—Moorad has said he doesn't expect any sweeping change soon—he has mentioned in interviews that he's keeping an open mind regarding the direction of the club, and that he will assess the team's needs this season.

Due to several details of the transfer of power between Moores and Moorad, the new owner won't be known as such for at least one season. In a layaway plan of sorts, Moorad will gradually buy his way into being the principal owner in a period that could take up to five years.

Meaning? Don't expect the Padres payroll to balloon up anytime soon, fans.

However, instant gratification shouldn't be on the minds of San Diegans. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes guys like John Moores and Jeff Moorad at least two years to take wretched teams into the postseason.

Feeling better?

Commence the parade.