Things have been quiet for a while on the San Diego Padres front. Almost too quiet. With that being said, the Padres have already made quite a few significant moves so far this offseason, shedding quite a bit of payroll in the process. Going into this offseason, there were a lot of questions about the Padres 2016 payroll and impending future payrolls. There are still those same questions, but perhaps to a lesser degree.
In almost every trade so far this offseason, the Padres have shed at least some salary, whether it be in giving up big contracts, or taking on lesser contracts in return. The Padres went into the 2015 season with a payroll just over $108 million, and ended the year with a payroll of just over $110 million. A mere months before the start of the 2016 season, the 2016 payroll is a bit of a different story.
Obviously the Padres will still be paying the contracts of Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton Jr. and James Shields, a combined $55 million for 2016, and a combined $166 million through the remainder of their contracts. That includes Kemp’s contract, ending after 2019, Upton’s contract, ending after next season, and Shields contract, which ends after 2018, barring an opt out or his option being picked up. For a small market team, this is obviously a large sum of money to be tied into just three players for next season. However, A.J. Preller has done a good job of saving money in other areas.
As was stated above, the Padres have shed payroll in almost every deal they’ve made so far this offseason. In the trades of Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit, Yonder Alonso, Marc Rzepczynski and Jedd Gyorko, the Padres shaved approximately $30 million off their salary for next season. Overall, with all four of those players off the books, the Padres will save $65-70 million over the life of all of those contracts. That includes Kimbrel’s contract, which ends after the 2017 season and Gyorko’s, which ends after the 2019 season, both barring the options being exercised.
So the Padres still have a large sum of money tied up to three players for next year, but did save a good deal of money not only next year but in the years coming up with the trades they have made so far. Obviously we didn’t account for the players coming back in those trades, but most are prospects or players on lesser salaries anyway. With these trades in mind, where does the Padres payroll currently stand for the 2016 season?
At current, the Padres only have $68 million in payroll for 2016. Obviously this is a deceptive number, as that number only accounts for the seven current Padres who are under contract for next season. That includes the players mentioned above, Matt Kemp, James Shields and Melvin Upton, as well as Jon Jay, Alexi Amarista, Brett Wallace, and Buddy Baumann. Almost every other Padre will be going through the arbitration process, or is under team control through this season at the league minimum.
Included among the arbitration eligible players are Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and Derek Norris, who are projected to take home around $20 million collectively in arbitration. That puts the Padres 2016 salary at approximately $88 million for only 10 players. The rest of the 15 roster spots will all be most likely filled by minimum or near minimum contracts, putting the Padres projected 2016 payroll at somewhere around $100 million, perhaps more depending on a few things.
So as it stands, the Padres 2016 payroll is slightly less than where it started last year, and less than where it ended the year. It is unclear whether ownership wants to spend further this offseason, or perhaps wait until future offseasons. Going into 2016, the Padres payroll is looking rather trimmed, outside of the three biggest contracts, which gives the Padres some options for the remainder of this offseason. The team could still spend on a free agent, or be content as is. Either way, financially the Padres look at least a little better than they did even two months ago.