It’s official — the San Diego Padres have changed hands, in a deal that ranks as the third largest in the history of Major League Baseball. MLB's owners approved the sale today.
The Padres weren’t sold in time for the All-Star Game, but for previous owner John Moores, the wait was probably worth it. MLB said "Yea" to an $800 million deal. Only the Chicago Cubs and the Dodgers sold for more, at $845 million and — when the parking lot side deal was added in — $2.3 billion, respectively.
Speaking of the Dodgers, there’s some of their DNA in the new ownership group. One-time Dodgers owners Peter O’Malley’s sons Kevin and Brian have joined pro golfer Phil Mickelson and San Diego businessman Ron Fowler to form the Padres new ownership group. Two of O’Malley’s nephews are also in on the deal. Fowler, interestingly, was also involved with a minority ownership group run by former Padres CEO Jeff Moorad.
Moorad had wanted to finish buying the team — he had been paying off Moores in installments since 2009 and was prepared to complete the process for around $500 million, until everything went horribly wrong with MLB earlier this year and Moorad stepped down as CEO.
The new owners have plenty of work ahead of them. The Padres are in second-to-last place in the National League West — with the Dodgers in first! But a consistent criticism of the Padres’ home field — the extremely spacious Petco Park — is being addressed. The place where home runs go to die is being studied for changes to its dimensions.
If the fences are pulled in, the new Padres new owners may find that they can eventually get their team back to the playoffs. San Diego hasn’t made that trip since 2006.
If you want a breakdown of just what the O'Malley group is buying, Forbes' Mike Ozanian has the goods, as usual.