Selig took six months to approve agent's buy

Updated: February 22, 2005, 3:39 PM ET
Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. -- After six months of investigation and deliberation, commissioner Bud Selig has given his approval to former agent Jeff Moorad becoming a part-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Moorad and the team's managing partner, Ken Kendrick, revealed Selig's decision while watching the Diamondbacks' first full-squad spring training workout on Tuesday.

"It's been a long process," Moorad said, "but I think a beneficial one for all concerned. The last six months have given me an opportunity to get to know the club, to get to know the front office personnel, in addition to getting quite comfortable with the partnership that I'm about to become a part of."

The Diamondbacks raised eyebrows among other owners when they proposed making a man who was one of the most prominent player agents in the game a partner. Moorad had to provide the commissioner's office with vast amounts of records as part of the process.

"If you look at the history of baseball," Kendrick said, "Jeff is probably the highest profile person from the player rep side to seek a senior position on the ownership side, so they wanted to be extraordinarily thorough."

Moorad, a former partner of agent Leigh Steinberg, knows that some in the tight-knit world of baseball ownership don't like him entering their exclusive club.

"I'm sure that's the case at some levels," Moorad said, "but on the other hand, I ask to be judged over the long term by what I accomplish going forward. Hopefully now with an opportunity to do that, the naysayers will have a chance to at least evaluate me on the merits."

The commissioner's office was expected to officially announce Moorad's approval in the next few days.

Neither Moorad nor Kendrick would say how much money would be involved, but it is significant enough to make Moorad the team's fifth general partner in the team's majority ownership group.

Moorad, whose former clients include Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzalez, will oversee operation of the franchise as general partner.

"He will be the one of us on active duty," said Kendrick, who will remain managing partner and represent the team at owners' meetings.

Moorad, while at the center of the Diamondbacks' many offseason personnel moves, officially was only an adviser until Selig's approval. He was at the head table at the news conferences to announce the hiring of Wally Backman as manager, then a few days later, announcing Backman had been dismissed because of problems in his background.

"Baptism by fire sometimes is the best way to learn," Moorad said, "and it certainly was a fast-paced learning process, and one that I hope is not only successful for the team in the short term but one that can be helpful to me over the course of my career on the management side."

Moorad said that his move to the other side of baseball "really has been more comfortable than I might have assumed."

He said his familiarity with people in and around the game has helped ease the transition.

Kendrick said that Moorad also had assembled a group of investors who would become limited partners, pending approval from the commissioner's office.

The team, meanwhile, has a player payroll of just under $60 million, Kendrick said, with a budget slightly above $60 million. That would allow for a player acquisition in midseason if the team needs someone to strengthen its position down the stretch.

The other general partners are Dale Jensen, Mike Chipman and Jeff Royer. They were recruited three years ago by Jerry Colangelo to take financial control of the team.

Colangelo, who headed the group that brought major league baseball to Arizona in 1998, was to stay on as chairman, but left in a dispute over philosophy last year.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press