Link to an interview with Morrad today on the Padres flagship station XX 1090 with Darren Smith. It's a great listen, and really gives some hope to Padre fans for the future both near and in the years ahead.
Padres majority owner John Moores has signed a contract with Jeff Moorad, a general partner of the Diamondbacks, agreeing to initially sell about a one-third interest in the franchise.
Moores said that under terms of the deal, Moorad and his partnership will have as long as three years to buy out the controlling interest. Until then, Moores will remain the Padres' control person, representing the club at owners' meetings and sitting on numerous committees.
Moorad has until Opening Day to close the initial part of the transaction.
"I anticipate that I'll remain the control person for three years," said Moores, who purchased the club in December of 1994 for $82 million. "[Moorad] has to reach a certain threshold of percentage of ownership before he becomes control person. And then that will be it for me."
The deal must also be approved by 75 percent of Major League Baseball's owners, and that step appears to be all but assured because Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy have been updated on the transaction as talks have progressed.
Moores said the sale value of the club, determined through a series of closings, will ultimately be more than $500 million, including debt. That means Moorad still must come up with about $165 million to close this part of the deal. Last year, Forbes Magazine valued the Padres at $385 million, 19th among the 30 Major League teams.
Moorad's 20 percent general partnership in the Diamondbacks is worth about $70 million.
That stake probably will be absorbed by the remaining four Arizona general partners, the club's managing general partner, Ken Kendrick, said earlier in the month when Moorad resigned as chief executive officer of the Diamondbacks to pursue his purchase of the Padres.
Moorad was replaced as chief executive by Derrick Hall, president of the Diamondbacks.
The status of the Padres franchise has gotten considerable media attention in part because of divorce proceedings involving John and Becky Moores. They own 90 percent of the team, and Becky shares 50 percent of that asset. Their daughter, Jennifer, owns 5 percent, and the other 5 percent is owned by Glenn Doshay, a San Diego businessman. Both are expected to remain part of the new ownership structure.
Moorad spent the past few weeks putting together the money and assembling a minority partnership as part of his new group.
"I'm piecing together a select group of friends and others," Moorad told MLB.com in a phone interview at the time he announced he was pursuing the club. "It will include several individuals from the San Diego area."
Moorad, a former player agent, became part of the D-backs ownership group in August 2004, during the transition in which Jerry Colangelo sold his portion of the team. A year later, Moorad was approved as an owner by MLB with the stipulation that he was not positioned as the managing general partner.
Kendrick, who owns a 12 percent share, assumed that role.
That structure wasn't going to change in the immediate future, and Moorad, who spent most of his adult life working and living in Southern California, said he and his family had a strong conviction to return to their roots. Thus, buying into the Padres became a highly attractive option.
When Moorad joined the Diamondbacks, it was in financial disarray, with a high annual debt on Chase Field. But after raising millions of dollars by taking in a group of limited partners and paying down substantial deferred player-related debt, the D-backs now find themselves on much more sturdy financial footing than they experienced nearly five years ago.
As far as the Padres are concerned, Moores said he's invested $100 million in the team over the course of 14 years and has a sizeable debt service tied to the construction of PETCO Park, at a cost of $454 million. The ballpark, after two years of court delays, opened in 2004 and the Padres assumed $153 million of the construction cost in bonds that are being paid off annually.
For various reasons, the two National League West franchises are similar. They maintain relatively modest player payrolls, but both have been successful recently in the division, with the Padres finishing in first place in 2005 and 2006 and the D-backs accomplishing the same in 2007 after winning the World Series in 2001.
The D-backs have won the West four times in their 11-year history. The Padres, heading into their 41st season, have won it five times and have gone to the World Series twice, losing in 1984 and 1998 to the Tigers and the Yankees, respectively.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Play Ball !!!