Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort said Saturday the big-spending ways of the San Diego Padres and several other teams puts “pressure” on his team.
Speaking at an event in Greeley, Colorado, the Rockies chairman and CEO talked about how the Rockies will go with youth this season. The team was quiet in the free-agent market this offseason. Some observers ridiculed Monfort for saying “I think we can play .500 ball,” a very modest preseason goal.
Yet he made it clear the team is not about to open its checkbook like the Padres and other teams have done the past couple of seasons.
“That puts a lot of pressure (on us),” Monfort said (via The Denver Post). “But it’s not just the Padres, it’s the Mets, it’s the Phillies. This has been an interesting year.
“What the Padres are doing, I don’t 100% agree with, though I know that our fans probably agree with it. We’ll see how it works out.”
According to FanGraphs, the Padres will have a payroll of $251 million this season, third-highest in MLB. The Rockies are middle of the pack in salary, with their $151 payroll ranking 16th in 2023.
Monfort said that despite their free-spending ways, the Padres have their own issues.
“I look at the Padres and they have a really talented team, but they have some holes, too,” Monfort said. “They’ve got three, maybe four starting pitchers, and then they’re sort of like us. They have (Joe) Musgrove, (Blake) Snell and (Yu) Darvish, so I don’t know.
“They have spent a lot of money and they will have to spend a lot more if they want to keep (outfielder) Juan Soto. But it does put a lot of pressure on you. Yes, it does.”
Monfort is certainly not the only MLB owner dismayed by skyrocketing salaries. Even New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, who oversees the second-biggest payroll in baseball, commented on the prolific spending of Mets owner Steve Cohen, saying in December that rising payrolls make it tough for some teams to compete.
“I think it’s something to be looked at,” Steinbrenner said in December (via WFAN Sports Radio). “Another thing I said in March, which I truly believe, is that every fan of every team, nobody should have to go into spring training thinking their team has no chance of making the playoffs. That’s just not good for the game.”
The Rockies were not competitive last year, finishing 68-94. Playing in arguably baseball’s toughest division, there’s no reason to expect much this season. In fact, a .500 mark might be something to celebrate.