Juan Soto is no longer a San Diego Padre.
At the Major League Baseball winter meetings, Padres general manager A.J. Preller traded away one of the game’s greatest hitters. The trade was certainly to balance the team’s roster and bolster a pitching staff that seemingly still is scattered with holes.
Undeniably, too, Juan Soto and his likely $30-plus million salary in 2024 were traded for financial reasons.
San Diego was third in baseball in payroll and only trailed New York’s two franchises.
Since the day Eric Hosmer signed a massive contract, San Diego has faced scrutiny for being a “small market team” that should not spend top dollar on its assets. Wednesday’s move already got the ball moving on this narrative from fans and scribes around the nation.
This is one of the things that irks the Friar Faithful the most. The Padres historically have not spent money and underwent multiple fire sales to slash payroll and optimize profits in the past. That changed in the last five years, to the dismay of other fanbases and some writers, and ultimately inspired Padres fans to show support for the team in droves. Petco Park is now one of the best environments in all of baseball.
Fans are going to continue to support the Padres, with or without Juan Soto.
The fanbase has shown this fact in the past, despite being at the bottom of the league in payroll but the middle of the pack in attendance. Baseball is an entertainment business that the Padres clearly invested in with big contracts to make its product more entertaining. This resulted in higher interest from thousands of San Diegans.
“If you build it, he will come.”
Peter Seidler wanted to build a winner as the Padres majority owner. A big part of his vision was spending his hard-earned money to create that on the field.
Now that he passed in November, some are questioning if his ownership group will continue to spend like he did. Signs are pointing towards no early, but the Padres still project to have one of the top payrolls in the game. Seidler wanted to bring a winner to San Diego, and his fund would still reflect that without him being able to watch from Petco Park.
So long as Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Joe Musgrove, and Fernando Tatis Jr. are still in brown and gold, the Padres should do fine dollar-wise. The team needs to figure out a TV deal for the upcoming season, but the Padres are king in San Diego and will stay that way for a long time in the nation’s eighth-largest city.
For the rest of the nation- Keep spinning that wrong narrative. We know the truth in San Diego.
Dominic is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Journalism. He also is the producer and co-host of the “Padres EVT Podcast.”