“The disappointing Padres are expected to cut their 2024 payroll by about 20 percent, to about $200 million.”
According to Spotrac, the San Diego Padres have a payroll of $253.28 million this season. That’s third in the majors, behind the New York Mets and New York Yankees. The team is well over $233 million before the luxury tax this season.
The first through third-place teams in team payroll this season are on pace to miss the postseason in tandem. San Diego surged at the end of the season with some big-name salaries, but it’s all wishful thinking with one week left in the regular season.
In the end, San Diego decided to lower its payroll to $200 million for the 2024 season. That means the team will have no more than $237 million before the luxury tax in 2024. The San Diego Union-Tribune, CBS Sports, MLB Traderumors, and others reported the news simultaneously on Nov. 26.
No matter how much “Mad Men” general manager A.J. Preller has earned the trust of the owners, there are limits. Manny Machado ($350 million in 2011), Fernando Tatis Jr. ($340 million in 2014), and Xander Bogaerts ($280 million in 2011) are two of the top 10 largest contracts and three of the top 20.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on the 20 percent payroll cut for the 2024 season, saying, “It’s not known how much the team makes, but sources say it has doubled since 2018, surprising those around it, but the size of the payroll has grown from $140 million in 2018 to $253 million in 2023.”
CBS Sports commented on the decision, saying, “Taking a pay cut of nearly $50 million in the off-season is extreme.” It’s going to be painful. The report went on to say that San Diego will not pursue Josh Hader and Blake Snell in free agency. Rather than the early projections.
The biggest concern is Juan Soto. He is eligible for free agency in 2024-2025 and, as is well known, was traded to San Diego in the summer of 2022 after turning down a 15-year, $440 million contract from the Washington Nationals. Soto, who made $23 million this year, could make $30 million next year through arbitration, according to CBS Sports.
“Trading Soto to free up money and add youth could be in the cards for San Diego,” CBS Sports said. If the Dodgers go down this path, they’ll have to trade Soto.
“Trading Soto would be an obvious way to shed payroll and still provide some (less expensive) benefit for 2024, and the Padres would still be busy on the trade front rather than waste money on the open market,” MLB TradeRumors said.
For Korean fans, it’s Kim Ha-Sung’s future that is of most interest. Like Soto, Kim will be a free agent after the 2024 season. He has become a top-tier second baseman, with manager Bob Melvin raving about his near All-Star level. It’s unlikely he’ll exercise his $8 million option for 2025.
That said, San Diego will have to consider moving him at some point. At this rate, an extension might be a tough sell. An extension is a way to increase the team’s payroll. In that case, Kim will be a free agent after the 2024 season. If he maintains his current value next year, he’ll be inundated with offers. It would be best to go to a team that can guarantee him a shortstop, which is more valuable than a second baseman.
“Despite all the signs of change, there doesn’t appear to be any change in San Diego’s overall direction or their desire to return to contention as soon as 2024,” MLBTradeRumors said. None of the core group, including Ha-Sung Kim, appear to be in danger of being traded, as they should be able to fit comfortably within the confines of a $20 million salary.” I don’t see Kim being traded anytime soon.레고토토
In any case, the tone of the 2023-2024 offseason has changed. “The payroll cuts mean San Diego will not be nearly as aggressive in pursuing top-tier free agents as it has been in recent years,” MLB Trade Rumors said.
Regardless of what happens in San Diego, Kim will have his hands full in 2024 if he plays as well as he did this season. That’s not in the distant future, it’s just a year away.