Alderson named Padres’ new CEO

Sandy Alderson
Sandy Alderson is the head Padre in charge.
SAN DIEGO, April 19, 2005 — Sandy Alderson was hired as chief executive officer of the Padres on Tuesday and given a clear — and maybe Herculean — directive by owner John Moores.

“My expectations for Sandy are modest. I want him to turn this into the best baseball franchise in America,” Moores said of Alderson, who more than a decade ago built the Athletics into consistent World Series contenders.

Moores hired Alderson away from the commissioner’s office, where he’s been executive vice president for baseball operations since September 1998. He was given a five-year contract and will become a minority owner.

“Today’s a good day for the San Diego Padres,” Moores said at a news conference. “And I hope the record will show it’s not such a good day for the rest of the National League.”

Moores also called Alderson’s hiring “the last and most complete piece of what I believe has been a long-term rebuilding effort for the franchise.”

Moores is certainly asking Alderson to do a big job. He’ll be in charge of baseball operations for a franchise that has reached the playoffs only three times in its 37-year history. The Padres’ last postseason appearance was in 1998, when they were swept by the Yankees in the World Series.

Two of those three playoff appearances have come since Moores, a computer software tycoon, bought the team in December 1994. The Padres also won the NL West in 1996.

By comparison, the A’s won four division titles, three AL pennants and a World Series during Alderson’s tenure as general manager and then president. He also had to deal with declining attendance, one of the smallest payrolls in baseball and six consecutive losing seasons before he left for the commissioner’s office.

Alderson said he’s ready for the challenge.

Sandy Alderson
Owner John Moores gave Alderson all the power.
“If you don’t strive to be the best, you’ll never get close,” he said. “And along the way, you can achieve a lot of super things. This is a competitive business. I believe in setting goals as high as one can and shoot for them.”

Following the Padres’ 1998 World Series appearance, they had five consecutive losing seasons. They pared payroll as they waited for completion of Petco Park, which was delayed by numerous lawsuits as well as a federal investigation into Moores’ business dealings with a City Councilwoman.

Petco opened last year. The Padres drew a record 3,016,752 fans and finished third in the NL West at 87-75.

Alderson said he began to miss the “rhythm” of working for a franchise. Moores first approached him about the job in mid-February.

“There’s no question the Padres organization has the potential to be great. That starts with ownership,” Alderson said.

He said his days in Oakland “will serve as experience and a perspective on things, but I don’t expect it to be a blueprint.”

“I don’t come here with an agenda, I don’t have preconceived ideas about what San Diego needs or desires,” he said. “I don’t have a preconceived strategy. I’m not looking to do it my way. There’s much I can learn here from the organization.”

Asked to compare the challenges of building a contender in Oakland with trying to do the same in San Diego, he said: “We never drew 3 million people in Oakland. You’ve already done that here. The challenge is to not only achieve a certain level of excellence, but to maintain it.”

Moores said one reason he hired Alderson is because he wasn’t happy with the franchise’s farm system and its baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.

“There are opportunities that we missed,” Moores said.

Moores also said the Padres’ revenue “is substantially higher than what Sandy’s used to dealing with.”

“Why make a change? Because I believe the club could do a lot better,” Moores said. “I still want a World Series ring as soon as possible.”

General manager Kevin Towers, who is under contract through 2007, said he’s looking forward to learning from Alderson.

“That’s probably the first thing that came to mind when I heard his name,” said Towers, GM since Nov. 17, 1995. “It wasn’t fear of my position as much as, ‘Wow, somebody I always respected a great deal as a young GM I’m now going to have as a teammate.’ He’s somebody who can help take me to the next level. I look at it as a real positive.”

Manager Bruce Bochy is in the final year of his contract. Moores held up an extension for Bochy while finalizing the deal with Alderson.

Bochy’s fate will largely be decided by Alderson, Moores said.

“I expect to be consulted but I’m highly confident that from here on out, personnel decisions will be his,” the owner said.

Dick Freeman will remain as president and become chief operating officer.

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