The Athletic’s Jim Bowden has released his top 40 free agent list and four San Diego Padres are included: Blake Snell, Josh Hader, Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo.
In his piece, Bowden made some predictions for how much money each player will get in their next contract:
.@JimBowdenGM has released his initial free agent contract predictions:— Talking Friars (@TalkingFriars) October 31, 2023
Blake Snell: 5 yr, $122 million
Josh Hader: 3 yr, $67 million
Michael Wacha: 1 yr, $16 million (via Padres exercising club option)
Seth Lugo: 2 yr, $20 millionhttps://t.co/THsyNP0954 pic.twitter.com/VLDGzpNtwQ
I’m sure a lot of Padres fans saw that Snell number and thought ‘there’s no way he only gets $122 million after being the best starter in baseball this season’ but Bowden mentions “he’s pitched 180 innings only twice in his eight-year career and pitched less than 130 innings in the other six seasons.”
With this said, I still disagree with Bowden on that dollar number. Pitchers contracts continue to rise—especially the elite pitchers—and Snell was at the top of the list this past season. The 30-year-old went 6+ innings 20 times in 2023.
Scott Boras is going to ask for the moon at the start of the winter and all it takes is one team to bite like the New York Yankees did with Carlos Rodon last offseason.
Hader only getting three years is also something I don’t see happening. He is the same age as Edwin Diaz, who just got five years from the New York Mets, and you’re telling me one team, such as the Texas Rangers or Philadelphia Phillies, wouldn’t be willing to overpay to get Hader at the back end of their bullpen?
Wacha very well could come back via the Padres club option but with San Diego reportedly wanting to decrease payroll, it might be in their best interest to try to bring him back under a little bit smaller of a contract—say $10-12 million per year.
If Lugo would be okay with two years for $20 million, the Padres should take that in a heartbeat. He didn’t have any arm problems this past season while consistently showing he can go 6+ innings as a starter. If you’re choosing between Wacha or Lugo, you’re probably picking Lugo.
Who do you think the Padres are bringing back in 2024?