San Diego Padres: Signing Adrian Gonzalez Is Not Practical

Paul RaymondCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2010

Alright baseball fans get ready for another long winter and spring of rumors surrounding San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Did you really think those would end after the performance the Padres put up in 2010? While that would have been a nice thought, unfortunately it won’t happen. A San Diego Tribune report by Tim Sullivan says that Padres’ CEO Jeff Moorad has called signing the slugger long term not “practical”. Yep, you read that right, it’s not practical for them to sign a bona fide star.

“While we’d still love to have Adrian here long-term, it doesn’t appear to be practical from a financial standpoint. So I’m certainly not counting on that. But we’ll engage and see if there’s a deal that can be made.”

If the 2010 version of the Padres were your classic cellar dwelling Padres then I’d agree, it would be unpractical to sign Gonzalez. But these are not the Padres I grew up with, these Padres are a young group of kids that can play and succeed if given the chance. And I’m sorry Mr. Moorad but Adrian Gonzalez gives those kids their best chance to do so.

Money is an issue that I get but winning cures all, especially when a team dedicates itself to doing so. Winning brings fans into the ballpark; fans in the ballpark bring in money. By looking at the 2010 attendance figures, the Padres success did just that as the team crossed the two million fans mark for the first time in a long time.

In 2009, the Padres drew about 1.9 million fans averaging 23,736 per game. In 2010, they drew a tad over 2.1 million, averaging over 26,000 fans per contest. For a team like the Padres that’s a significant increase. So what caused that??

Moorad will have you believe it was the lower ticket prices. That’s part of the cause but the main reason was the team’s winning habits. In the second half of the season, the team was outdrawing the prior year, not by major numbers but enough to tell you that they were gaining interest.

In home games 50-70, they were averaging about 500-1500 more fans then the prior year that changed thou once September hit. In the team’s final 11 home games they outdrew the prior year by 2-3,000, that tells me people were starting to believe that this team could win. Moorad even admits that the team noticed this, but I don’t think he fully grasps the theory.

“Much was made of the non-capacity crowds toward the end of the season compared to other cities,” Moorad said. “I told everyone who asked: ‘Look, this is a community that needs to see and believe.’ I believe they’ve now seen a bit and they’re beginning to believe. … At this point, I think the direction is clearer, if not clear, and we believe the fan base is responding.”

I wonder to myself, if Moorad knew what he was saying? He thinks the fan base is responding because the direction the ball club is heading is clearer. I’m sorry it’s really not Jeff, it seems like the status quo to me.

Yes, you made some moves throughout the year to give the team a chance to win BUT you’re still talking about letting your star player walk because of money. As long as that trend continues then the fan base will never truly respond and give this team the dedication that they deserve.

I believe Moorad is just being as cheap as every other person whose run the Padres. Yes, he’ll increase payroll for 2011 into the $40 million range but that’s not enough. Adrian Gonzalez should cost approximately $15 million per starting in 2012, slightly more if the Boston Red Sox are truly involved. That’s about $10 million more then he makes now.

If the fans are responding to the teams success and Gonzalez gives them the best chance to continue on then why not make that number about $50 million. It’s a drop in a bucket with the extra money you’d receive from the fans in stands and possible playoff revenue.

I’m not a Padres fan so I can’t speak for them, but Gonzalez is their first TRUE star since Tony Gwynn. He’s the reason a lot of them go to the ballpark. I’m sure they believe he’s the reason they were a contender. He’s hit 161 homeruns in five seasons, he’s a guy that brings excitement to the ballpark and if you let that walk, well…..

You’d probably lose any good faith you earned when you talked about changing this organization. If you are serious about turning around this organization then don’t make the same mistakes.

And that Mr. Moorad, that is practical.