The San Diego Padres are attempting to operate like a mid-market franchise.
"We've sort of banned the word 'small-market,'" Peter Seidler, the Padres' lead investor, said. "We don't look at ourselves like a small market. I think it's clear now that we don't behave like a small market."
The Padres remade their front office and were aggressive in the winter in improving their roster.
Opening-day payroll, projected at roughly $100 million, will be a club record for the second consecutive year.
"We were a small market in that facility, in that era of baseball," said president and CEO Mike Dee, who during the last decade served as COO of the Red Sox. "But given the economic reform and the fact that we play at Petco Park, that's what catapults this market into a mid-market."
In terms of payroll, the Padres have seen a nearly 96 increase from 2010 to 2014, the largest jump among Major League Baseball's bottom 15.