Broken promises

Has Padres owner John Moores broken a promise to San Diego's baseball fans? <br><br> A vocal -- and apparently growing -- body of fans believes so. <br><br>

They believe the Padres have made too few moves this winter considering Moores' promise that the Padres would become an annual contender once they moved into their new downtown home.

Although the Padres drew more than three million fans during their first season at Petco Park, they did little in the offseason.

They did sign right-handed starting pitcher Woody Williams as a free agent ... but only after they lost left-handed starter David Wells to the Boston Red Sox.

And, yes, although Wells eventually got much more money from the Red Sox than the Padres' offer, he had all but agreed to a deal with the Padres when he at first balked, then wanted to sign only to find the Padres had backed away.

Last week, the Padres had an agreement with former 21-game winner Esteban Loaiza at $3.2 million. But that was only if someone claimed left-hander starter Darrell May off waivers for the same amount. When no one did, the Padres' offer to Loaiza was void.

Is that the bottom line -- the Padres didn't have an extra $3.2 million to spend after drawing three million?

The club did, however, decide to spend an estimated $3 million on improvements to Petco Park. Fans believe that money might have come out of the payroll budget rather than a capital improvements fund.

Padres general manager Kevin Towers denies this possibility. But the Padres didn't make many offseason moves.

May came from Kansas City in a trade for outfielder Terrence Long. Center fielder Dave Roberts came from Boston in a trade for center fielder Jay Payton and arbitration-eligible infielder Ramon Vazquez. In both deals, the Padres had to pay out some money.

Beyond Williams, the Padres' biggest free agent signees this winter were infielder-outfielders Eric Young and Mark Sweeney and relief pitchers Rudy Seanez, Dennys Reyes and Chris Hammond.

Most Padres fans expected more.


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