Jeff Moorad Steps Down as Padres CEO

Thursday's announcement has some fans speculating about the completion of the sale of the team

The San Diego Padres announced Thursday that Jeff Moorad has stepped down as the CEO of the Padres.

He will remain as Vice Chairman of the club according to an official release from the San Diego Padres.

In January, the owners of Major League Baseball put off approving the sale of the team to Moorad.

Two weeks ago he withdrew his request to expedite the sale of the Padres saying at the time he was trying to get the TV contract in place but Moorad did say the ownership group buying the team, which includes Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, was not going to change.

He still has two years to complete his purchase from majority owner John Moores.

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Moorad was a prominent sports agent before becoming a minority owner first with the Arizona Diamondbacks, then with the Padres. His group owns 49 percent of the Padres and is set to buy the remainder from Moores.

Thursday's news will no doubt leave many Padres fans asking what impact this will have on the purchase of the team from Moores and the upcoming season set to open in just two weeks.

Padres President and COO Tom Garfinkel will assume CEO duties in the interim according to the Padres news release.

Moorad will be responsible for overseeing the Padres’ involvement in the development of Fox Sports San Diego.

The channel broadcast its first Padres game last weekend, albeit not in HD to many fans' complaints.

Padres have said repeatedly it will be up and running by April 5, the Padres Home Opener.

A team spokesperson declined further comment Thursday afternoon.

The two most likely reasons that Moorad chose now to step down are it's another move to expedite the sale of the team or, what's becoming increasingly more likely, other Major League owners are trying to freeze him out.

As a former agent, Moorad is not popular among many Major League owners. It is possible that they would create obstacles to keep him from becoming majority owner of the ball club.

Find out the latest on NBC 7 News at 6 p.m.

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