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Before delving into arb estimates & effect on payroll, wanted to hammer this very important point:

3 players take up 70 MM in salary.  Close to 50% of the total projected at 140 - 145 (O.D. 2020) - 150 MM payroll.

The Padres have 70-80 MM to spend on 23 additional players, many under contract or arbitration.

I think it's extremely important to discuss Pads payroll from this POV.  For example (FENN) if Pads retain Wingenter on IL all of 2021, that "only" 575K or whatever is VERY significant when considered in terms of only let's say 80 MM remaining.  Even MORE so, when it's REALLY against the (your, correct IMO #) only 15 MM +/- Pads have available to meet their needs of:  RH Closer (Yates?), Super Utility (Profar?), RH 4th OF/CF (?), SP (?).   575 K / 15 MM = almost 4% of the total.  Every $ counts!

Only exception to this for me would be if a Big 3 player were traded.  Machado not going anywhere.  Hosmer very unlikely, but theoretically could if Moreland is retained.  Myers the guy Preller will explore what his value is.   If he were actually traded (seems very unlikely), then I'd revert to talking about the entire payroll.

But it makes no sense to use "150 MM" as a starting point when almost 50% of that # is spent on 3 guys.

Well, the arb estimates are... all over the place.

The UT projected active roster payroll just over 120 MM, but they used the lower estimates for Arb increases.   They assumed no Non-Tenders (i.e. Garcia & Perdomo $ included).  But only + 300K for Clevinger, + 1 MM for Lamet & Davies, etc.  Seems unlikely to me, but owners will push for it.

Here's where I'm at using the most "aggressive" arb estimates done by MLBTR (highest for all arb eligible):

127.5 MM (active roster) payroll with these assumptions:  retain Moreland, non-tender Garcia & Perdomo (& Wingenter), no FA re/signings.  Used UT #'s for pre-arb players including 1 MM to Tatis, +2 minimum guys instead of Garcia & Perdomo @  570K.  I also included 850K "dead $" for Ian Kinsler.   Finally, assumed No players on IL (unlikely).  The vast majority of the difference is the variation on what the 3 SP's in Arb might get.

So IF really working with a 150 MM payroll ceiling, the 22 - 30 MM to work with definitely feels like it should be enough in a team favorable FA market, given the Padres needs, with the caveat that it would always be nice to have an "extra" 30 MM lying around to use on top line SP!!

I have a feeling though that given all the financial uncertainty, that owners might hand down the mandate to stick to 145 MM to start the season.   That would still be 17 - 25 MM to work with.


I took the 3 arb figures provided on MLBTR and added them together and then divided by 3 for an average of those figures to use for my excel sheet that I keep. With a league minimum of $590K for all the rookies, I come to $124M for 2021. Giving $21-26M for winter spending spree for Preller, based on the $154-150M budget.


We are all speculating that payroll will have to stay the same or even likely go down.

But has anyone(Fowler) actually said this?

I mean....we are finally in a position to be a consistent Playoff team....maybe ownership doesn't want to risk "not" contending and is actually willing to "increase" payroll....even if just by 5-10%?

Or maybe they will only authorize an increase if it involves a Tatis extension.

Has anyone seen another confirming ownerships position on 2021 payroll?


Maybe about a month ago one of the local reporters wrote that ... apparently per Fowler... that the payroll COULD go up to $150MM. Focus on COULD and don't convert that to WILL go up. Plus that was then ... things change quickly in 2020.

If I were to guess ... if they are at about $125MM with the current roster they will add conservatively to fill the obvious weakness (i.e. bench, RP) and only if a major upgrade piece falls in their lap ... open the payroll and move towards that $150MM.

That "major upgrade" possibility is tricky IF he comes with a multi-year contract demand. Maybe fit the salary in the payroll limit in 2021 but will it fit in 2022 and beyond when significant arbitration / extension monies start to hit. Yes, Myers will come off the books in 2023 BUT he will have to be replaced by similar productivity and that can be said about Pham / Moreland after next season .... not relying on the farm near term for offense.

If they can do what ATL has done with Donaldson / Ozuna on one year deals ... better chance to work long term.

Don't see Tatis' potential extension a big issue ... 2021 still will be low salary with only the signing bonus at issue. (plus don't think they settle on an extension until next winter).

If they make that "major upgrade" .... they will really want to be sure on the player's contribution in 2021 (as much as they can) and will avoid those "bounce back" or injury prone candidates.

Also, probably need to keep some room under their cap to make any needed adds at the trade deadline (or sooner if there is a major injury).


Following up:

  • Several Padres-related topics are addressed by The Athletic’s Dennis Lin as part of a reader mailbag piece, with a particular focus on San Diego’s offseason plans.  Lin doesn’t think the Padres will make a play for Trevor Bauer this winter, and re-signing Jurickson Profar could be difficult since his asking price may be beyond the Friars’ comfort zone.  “The team isn’t interested in paying handsomely for a secondary option,” Lin writes, though Profar ended up being essentially an everyday player in 2020.

Side note: speculation that if Bauer sticks with his one year approach to a deal ... could push the $40MM mark.

Re:  Bauer...   Isn't Bauer's one year at a time approach hurting his own value as a guy getting a qualifying offer?

Even though what's given up for teams signing a Q.O. is so much lower than in past (#12 overall draft pick for Shields FA signing!), teams value the picks more highly than they used to.

Bauer does "stand alone" this year, and definitely some benefit to a signing team to not risk an injury to a P (again, Bauer being stupid IMO, given how much risk teams were willing to absorb long term for elite P's last year) on value beyond that year.

But still 2021 covid uncertainty saddled with QO seems like a bad time to do the "year by year" approach as the player.

Echoing Fenn, what I've heard from Fowler is that he would be willing to go up to about $150 for the right player.  Money aside, do you think we are 1 player away from a World Series run?

What it really comes down to is how much are you willing to trust the young starters?  I was thinking about this during Kershaws last start, but over the next three years could you make the argument that Gore, Patino, and Morejon would put up better numbers than Kershaw?  (FFFFF I was about to write that he was old, so looked up his age and realized he is all of two days older than me)  But, I can make the argument that Lament/Clev/Gore/Morejon/Patino would be as good if not better than Buhler/Kershaw/May/Urias/Gonsolin so would you want to spend the money there?

What about upgrading our bullpen?  Would Padre fans be ok if the "only" moves they made this offseason were to resign Yates and Rosenthal?  (Maybe trade Stammen for peanuts, pick up Morelands option).

Point is, unless its via trade (where we end up giving up a Patino or Gore), I dont see a move where Fowler would cream "YES, I'll open the pocket book."  Even then, I dont know what position the Padres would try to improve.

That "right player" is hard to envision showing up for 2021 ... would have to be transformative for the roster.

The first block of money just needs to be a better bench to cover a 162 game schedule .. after the starters there really is a set of non-ML quality pieces and zip in AAA. Team can't hit LHP so a "hitter" of LHP needs to be in the mix. Padres had an outstanding July-August offensively but fell to #14 in MLB (OPS) in September stretch run and that was with the soon to be departed Profar having an outstanding September. Worry about offense.

With all the focus on pitching ... in September the Padres were #1 in MLB in ERA, #2t in WHIP, and #3 in BAA with Rosenthal and Richards departing. Maybe not as critical as being billed ... but that second block of money probably gets focused on a closer (Rosenthal or Yates or ????). Realistically in this era ... maximizing the pen may even supersede the five deep SP. Plus do have to think the internal SP options have the best option of succeeding vs. the bench options or the RP options.

Do block one and block two ... probably elevated the payroll such that there is no longer enough for that big signing.

More and more I see the need to sign Profar.

Where would we have been this year when Pham went down without him?

I don’t think Oña would have given is the same production.

So who is next years Profar if not Profar.

There are a few options....but none as versatile(I don’t believe) and we know how AJ feels about the kid.I don’t think he brought him in without the intent of keeping him beyond 2020 in the first place.