Saturday, February 25, 2012

Contract for Gwynn

Ten days after Tony Gwynn had surgery to remove a malignant growth from his right cheek, the Padres and Gwynn's agent agreed to a contractual framework that covers Gwynn's return to the team's broadcasting booth this year, this blog has learned.

Friday, February 24, 2012


As an exercise in creative thinking, I thought it'd be fun to imagine one of San Diego's sons, Cole Hamels, who is Petco Park's ERA leader, pitching for the Padres starting in 2013. I ran the idea by a club executive from outside the National League West and asked the pitcher's agent, John Boggs, where the Hamels negotiations stand with the Phillies.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cactus fire

Grooming Edinson Volquez to throw more strikes is Darren Balsley's first priority this spring training. Second on the pitching coach's to-do list, Balsley told this blog, is to stoke the competition among relievers.

"We're going to put them under fire a little," Balsley said.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jump start on the farm

A select group of 36 Padres minors leaguers, among them 2011 draft picks Austin Hedges, Jace PetersonJoe Ross, and Cory Spangenberg, will begin a two-week mini-camp on Friday. Below you'll find the roster, which includes Drew Cumberland, a second baseman and .316 career hitter whose entire 2011 season was lost to concussion-like symptoms.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Enberg, Part Two

As you probably know, the Padres signed TV broadcaster Mark Grant to an extension recently, even as their 20-year deal with Fox Sports San Diego awaited approval. (UPDATE) -- Grant's broadcast partner, Dick Enberg. also has terms in place through 2014.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Top priority

Of all the tasks Darren Balsley plans for his Padres pitchers this spring training, first on the list concerns a mysterious righty who a) owns a 5.01 ERA over the last three years, b) underwent Tommy John surgery three summers ago, c) tested positive for a performance enhancing drug two springs ago, yet d) earned All-Star recognition before a, b and c dumped ice water on his career.

Edinson Volquez, welcome to Peoria, where, along with the Arizona sun, your new coach's spotlight will shine on you starting on Sunday when camp opens.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An overlooked small piece?

If Jeff Moorad and his limited partners were to buy out John Moores now instead of in 2014, would they get a discounted price in return for speeding up the purchase? And, given that Moorad's group owed Moores roughly $300 million at the start of the deal (not including some $200 million in ballpark-related debt), wouldn't it take a hefty price cut, seemingly worth eight figures, to motivate Moorad and friends to pay the remaining $150 million two years in advance?

Logic says, yes and yes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Good news on Gwynn

Tony Gwynn "sounded good" when he spoke to his younger brother, Chris, this afternoon after the Hall of Famer had surgery to remove a malignant tumor from inside his right cheek.

"He sounded good, he really did," Chris told this blog. "It was a long night, but the outcome was pretty good."

Commitment to Byrnes

Josh Byrnes gained a year of guaranteed salary -- and a pay raise -- when Jeff Moorad made him general manager of the Padres, this blog has learned.

"I think it was five years plus an option," Moorad told me yesterday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

After Enberg

Reports in the mainstream media had Dick Enberg's contract ending this year, the play-by-play announcer's third season with the Padres.

Actually, Enberg is under contract through 2013, as you might have noticed yesterday upon reading this blog's story that the Padres had signed his broadcast partner, color analyst Mark Grant, to a three-year deal that ultimately could run through 2016.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Moorad and Moores

Padres CEO and Vice Chairman Jeff Moorad recently met with team majority owner John Moores in Houston, where Moores lives, and Moorad said Moores told him that if Moorad were to slow-pedal his purchase of the Padres, that would be acceptable.

That's what Moorad told 1090 AM's Lee Hamilton in an interview that aired this afternoon. Moorad said nothing else on the subject.

Questioned by this blog later today, Moorad said the meeting with Moores "came at John's suggestion" and declined further comment.

Padres lock up Grant

As they wait for MLB to approve their TV deal with Fox, the Padres have locked into place a key member of their broadcast team for the next three years.

Mark Grant, this blog has learned, has reached terms on a guaranteed contract through 2014. The deal could stretch to 2016 if options are exercised.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Padres get Fox equity

Per their 20-year TV deal that's still awaiting approval from MLB, the Padres will have an approximately 20-percent stake in the newly created Fox regional sports network, this blog has learned from a major-league source.

An upfront payment to the Padres is still being negotiated, although in place are yearly rights fees that start at $30 million in 2012 -- nearly double last year's total -- and grow to $65 million to $70 million in the final year. The percentage increase in rights fees will not be the same each year.

Scanlan's big role

When the Padres announced that Bob Scanlan would move into the radio booth this year, it  appeared that the innings would be divvied up among Ted Leitner, Andy Masur and Scanlan (with Jerry Coleman working home, day games). Yet Scanlan, I've learned, will assume Masur's role as Leitner's partner. Masur will work the pregame and postgame shows, and if Leitner is away from the team, he'll fill in for him. The Padres remain keen on the versatile Masur, who also may help out on the telecasts. But they wanted a former big leaguer's expertise for their radio broadcasts. Like Mark Grant on the TV side, Scanlan is a former major league pitcher.