Examining the San Diego Padres future payroll outlook.
The trade deadline is looming, and every contending Major League team is looking to improve their roster.
The deadline is also an opportunity for teams to move contracts that they would prefer not to pay. The Padres have done both in recent years. They traded Matt Kemp and $54 million in salary for Hector Olivera and his $28.5 million. Olivera was then cut by the Padres without playing a game. The front office also acquired Fernando Tatis Jr. for James Shields and $11 million. Here’s where the Padres payroll stands.
The Padres finished 2018 with $130 million on the 40-man roster, the 22nd highest in baseball. The opening day 25-man payroll increased slightly from $94 million in 2018 to $97 million this season. This figure counts Manny Machado as a $12 million player, pro-rating his bonus over the length of his 10-year contract. The 2020 opening day payroll won’t surge because old contracts expire.
The Padres will pay Olivera $7.5 million this year, and $8.5 million in 2020. They are also still paying Jedd Gyorko $5 million this year, Phil Hughes $7.25 million, Clayton Richards $1.5 million, and Kazihisa Matika $1.9 million. That $14 million goes away, and Machado’s $32 million (salary and pro-rated bonus) means only a $6 million boost next season. The Padres also pre-paid for Garrett Richards in 2020, signing him to a two-year deal, of which he collects $7 million in 2019 and $8.5 million in 2020.
With only Craig Stammen ($2.25 million) reaching free agency this year, the Padres won’t find payroll space by subtraction without a trade. The contracts of Aaron Loup and Adam Warren could be bought out, but the savings are minimal because neither is making substantially more than the league minimum.
Moving Wil Myers and his future salary would be ideal for the Padres. He has started only two games in July. While the former Rookie-of-the-Year’s numbers are not spectacular, he hits the ball hard, plays several positions, and can steal a base. His contract was signed in January 2017 for six years, $83 million with a club option for 2023. $15 million came in the form of a signing bonus. The contract was backloaded, with the Padres paying $20 million for the next three and presumably the $1 million buyout for 2023. Myers’ has a negative trade value due to his contract, so the Padres would be giving up players and money to be free of a portion of his salary. It is possible they find a trade partner that values that combination more than the Padres do, but for now, it looks like the Padres will have a highly paid fourth outfielder for at least 2020.
Eric Hosmer will make $21 million a year through 2022. He has an opt-out clause that allows him to become a free agent or play for the Padres for through 2025 at $13 million a year. He has a full no-trade clause.
Many Machado rounds out the big contracts for the Padres. His 10-year/$300 million contract changed the direction of the franchise. He does have an opt-out clause at the midway point in the contract.
Ian Kinsler’s contract covers him for the next two years. Although the Padres have a 2021 option, it’s unlikely that team will pick it up.
Arbitration is going to be the significant variable for the team in the off-season. Greg Garcia, Austin Hedges, and Kirby Yates are due for pay increases. Hunter RenfroeMatt Strahm and Manuel Margot go to arbitration for the first time if they cannot agree on a contract with the team. The Padres could offer long-term deals with contracts backloaded until 2023 when the team opts-out on Myers and Hosmer either opts-out or takes a $7 million pay cut.
As structured, the team’s payroll remains stable for the next three seasons. If the Padres are going to sign any free agents this off-season, they will have to increase payroll.
All salary information sourced from Cot’s Baseball Contracts.