Peter Seidler’s baseball DNA building contender in San Diego Padres

SAN DIEGO - APRIL 7: General view of the exterior of Petco Park before action between the San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 7, 2005 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO - APRIL 7: General view of the exterior of Petco Park before action between the San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 7, 2005 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Peter Seidler is not your typical billionaire as baseball is in his DNA. The San Diego Padres owner/chairman is the grandson of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley. The legacy of his family’s name in major league baseball is safely secure. But Seidler hopes to enhance their reputation as builders of perennial contending baseball teams.

The O’Malley family owned and operated one of baseball’s most-cherished franchises, the Dodgers, for 48 years. The team’s success was built on a highly-productive farm system and a financially rewarding deal that brought the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. The result were six World Series titles during the family’s tenure as team owner.

In a way, making the playoffs two of the last three seasons has been a dry run into the world of a perennial postseason contender for the Friar Faithful. Seidler expects his team to win and is willing to spend whatever amount it will take to put a winning product on the field. The organization has benefited from his approach to building a solid foundation and economic platform.

Peter Seidler is not afraid to spend money to build San Diego Padres into winner

Seidler is one of the wealthiest individuals (reported net worth is $3 billion) in the United States. He is the founder and managing partner of the Seidler Equity Partners of Marina del Rey. The firm specializes in middle-market and emerging growth investment options for its clients.

He parlayed his firm’s success into purchasing the Padres in August 2012. The purchasing price was $800 million, and the team’s current value is $1.76 billion. The franchise’s value has appreciated at a 220 percent rate during this time period.

The Friar Faithful was apprehensive about committing to a new ownership regime. Collectively, they were tired of contending for a season or two before retooling the roster again. Seidler has not reneged on his promise of delivering a quality product to San Diego.

Despite all of his success, Seidler will never be confused with his grandfather in how he operates the Padres’ day-to-day business. Siedler is well-versed in the latest trends in baseball and how they will affect running a franchise. If there is a deal to be made, he is not afraid to clean out his minor-league talent pool to acquire the right impactful player.

San Diego Padres not a small-market franchise

The Padres are not a small-market franchise. They have the fourth-highest payroll ($187 million) in baseball heading into the 2023 season. Seidler is not shy to spend money.

It began in 2019 when the Friars signed All-Star Manny Machado to a record 10-year, $300 million deal. Two years later, Seidler elected to give young superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. a 14-year, $340 million contract extension. And this winter, the Padres inked free agent Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million deal. Now, San Diego is in the conversation as a final destination for baseball’s elite stars.

Baseball insiders believe Machado will exercise the clause to opt out of his current deal with the Friars next offseason. Other players may pass through San Diego before heading to their next stop in their career. But everyone expects Machado to remain in brown and gold for the remainder of his professional career.

Seidler and Machado need to get into a room and discuss what the future holds for both sides. The conversation should be short. Machado will recognize he works for an owner who adds more salary to the payroll if that player improves the Padres’ chances of winning.

Often, he has orchestrated every recent player move by the Padres, but none of the acquisitions can guarantee a World Series title. Baseball’s competitive level is fierce. If a team can survive the gauntlet of October baseball, they will have earned that championship. All Siedler can do is field a World Series-caliber team that hopefully punches their ticket to the dance.

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The heirs of a wealthy family struggle to match their lineage’s success, but Seidler has shown his keen business sense can achieve favorable results in baseball. No question, he has come out from the shadows of the O’Malley name.