Alderson fields fans' questions online
CEO says season is early, team should be competitive
Padres CEO Sandy Alderson fielded fans' questions during the first Web chat on padres.com on Friday. Alderson answered questions about bench production, the Padres' payroll and gave his opinion about the club's performance so far this season.
Alderson: Hello everyone! This is Sandy Alderson and I am looking forward to participating in the chat with all of you today. Let's get started.
scout01: Is Commissioner of Major League Baseball something you would consider if the opportunity presented itself?
Alderson: The Commissioner has a tremendously complex job, and I think that Commissioner Selig is handling his responsibilities extremely well. I enjoy being affiliated with a team and cannot foresee the possibility of becoming Commissioner.
lgp2: Forbes Magazine reported that the Padres had $158 million in revenue in 2005. Is that number correct? If so, why was player payroll less than half of the revenue for the Padres, while other teams are putting more than half of their revenue into player payroll?
Alderson: Let's assume that the revenue number is close. Every team has a unique set of expenses. We have substantial ballpark related expenses, including maintenance, capital costs and interest on our ballpark debt. These expenses, which many teams don't have to the same degree, are very significant for us and affect the amount that we can spend on payroll and other aspects of our operation.
octaviofuentes: The team is floundering and there seems to be a lack of direction for this team in 2006. What conditions would have to be met to consider replacing your GM, manager and coaching staff?
Alderson: We have played 15 games, and we have played far better in the last 10 than we did in the first five, so I would disagree that the team is floundering.
lgp2: Do you think it is important to have serviceable pinch-hitters on a Major League bench? If so, why did the Padres sign bench players that have historically been poor pinch-hitters?
Alderson: I think that the bench is extremely important for many reasons, including the need to have reliable hitters off the bench. But other factors are also important and it will take a few weeks to know exactly what roles certain players will have. We have not been successful pinch-hitting the first two weeks of the season.
Base_Ball_3: Sandy, as a Padres fan, I've been patiently awaiting the upper-level free agent acquisitions that have been promised now that the revenue stream of PETCO has been approved and created. When can we expect such acquisitions?
Alderson: In order to pursue free agents, you need two things: quality players to pursue and the cash to pay them. Next year we will have the payroll flexibility to add some players, but the free agent class for next year does not look strong if you consider ability and age. The most important thing that we can do to improve the team is to improve our farm system. Devoting some of the money that is typically thrown at free agents by clubs would be better spent on building the player development system.
socalfriar: Has there been talk of signing Khalil Greene to a long-term deal like Jake Peavy's?
Alderson: I would love to sign Khalil to a long-term deal when we see more consistency in his performance. We will learn much in the next few weeks. Khalil is a fan favorite and it would be great to keep him here in San Diego.
socalfriar: Are there any current trade talks in the works?
Alderson: Nothing significant. Like the Padres, most clubs are just getting a feel for what they already have.
wheelpadrefan: It seems to me that the Padres are a better team than their record indicates. Could it be that they are being mismanaged during games? What are your thoughts?
Alderson: We've only played 15 games and that is a small sample from which to make general statements about the team or the manager. Bruce Bochy has done a great job in San Diego for a long time, and I'm sure he will this year, too.
LaMar_Brown: Although it's early in the season, what is your biggest disappointment thus far and are there any plans to correct it? Productivity off the bench is one of my concerns.
Alderson: My biggest disappointment has been the injury to Mike Cameron, because I think Padres fans were looking forward to seeing him in center field on Opening Day. But those things happen and he should be ready to play in the next few days.
jpleeg2: Good afternoon Sandy, and a belated welcome to San Diego. I am curious what, if any, progress has been made to allow Padres games to be seen via satellite for those of us who don't live within Channel 4's footprint.
Alderson: Our local TV contract does not allow the games to be put on a satellite for broadcast through DirecTV or some other carrier.
lilcalal: Can you explain the kind of difference you think Cameron will make once he starts to play consistently?
Alderson: Cameron will solidify our outfield defense and also add some offensive punch to our lineup. One of the weaknesses in our offense so far this year is the lack of power. Cameron will help in this area as well. By the way, Mike had three plate appearances last night at Lake Elsinore and was fine after the game.
dan_johnson: What do you think about Ben Johnson?
Alderson: Ben has a chance to be a very good everyday player because of his combination of speed and power. He has played very well during Mike Cameron's absence and I expect he will get additional playing time after Cameron returns.
Ron_Brum: I know it's early but Mike Piazza doesn't seem to be the answer in catching. Defense is a question mark and he isn't hitting.
Alderson: Mike has actually done a very nice job behind the plate. His hitting will come around, as it usually does for veteran hitters. Again, let's not draw too many conclusions from two weeks of the season. Mike will be a productive hitter for us.
Alderson: Thanks to everyone for participating in this chat. We have lots of games to play and I look forward to seeing many of you at PETCO Park. We should be very competitive with a number of young players who will only get better.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.