If I told you a few years ago that the San Diego Padres would be over the luxury tax at the end of the 2021 season, you would have probably laughed at me. However, that’s exactly where the budget stands right now, according to Spotrac.
The Luxury Tax threshold currently stands at $210 million. The Padres’ luxury tax number is currently at $213,269,047. For those who didn’t major in math, San Diego is $3,269,047 over the luxury tax, which means they would be subject to a penalty. That penalty, according to MLB.com, is to pay 20% of all overages, which would be $653,809 if the payroll stays at this amount. That obviously isn’t going to happen, though.
The Luxury Tax Threshold number could also change though, as the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires on December 1, meaning that a new agreement needs to be made between the league and players.
It was mind boggling to me at first to see the Padres over the luxury tax, considering they didn’t even make the playoffs and didn’t take on much salary last season during the trade deadline. However, it was less surprising once I dug into every player’s salaries.
The Padres have four players (Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell), who combined for just 5.4 wins last season, making $75.6 million in 2022. Unless Darvish and Snell can stay healthy all year and Myers and/or Hosmer is gone next season, that will leave the Padres pretty hand cuffed without much return on investment.
It’s also interesting to point out that the Padres best player, Fernando Tatis Jr., isn’t even in the top ten, as he will make less than $6 million next season.
Here are the top ten Padres contracts next season with their respective WARs:
- Manny Machado (2021 WAR: 5.1): $32 million
- Wil Myers (2021 WAR: 0.9): $22.5 million
- Eric Hosmer (2021 WAR: 1): $21 million
- Yu Darvish (2021 WAR: 1.3): $19 million
- Blake Snell (2021 WAR: 1.3): $13.1 million
- Drew Pomeranz (2021 WAR: 0.7): $10 million
- Joe Musgrove (2021 WAR: 3.5): $8.8 million
- Mike Clevinger (2021 WAR: 0.0): $8 million
- Adam Frazier (2021 WAR: 4): $7.5 million
- Jurickson Profar (2021 WAR: 0): $7.33 million
We know A.J. Preller isn’t a general manager that stands pat in the winter but because the payroll is already high, he is going to need to create some flexibility so he has some room to make significant additions—unless chairman Peter Seidler is fine with paying a bunch of taxes for a team that missed the postseason in 2021.
Eric Hosmer is making $21 million and Wil Myers is making $22.3 million next season, which would make up over 20% of the club’s payroll next season. Trading away a majority of one those contracts would allow Preller to have the room to add pitching or bring in a power corner outfield bat.