The San Diego Padres are attempting to compete in MLB.
San Diego Padres ‘ownership has obviously recognized that it takes money to compete in Major League Baseball.
An organization that has consistently ranked toward the bottom (20th or lower) in payroll has ascended to 11th on the list according to spotrac.com. Next year the team’s outlay will jump to $139 million thanks to a big bump in Wil Myers’ contract from $5.5 million to $22.5 million.
Of course, the usual suspects–the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers—remain the biggest spenders of all. And it should come as no surprise that each of those teams except for the Dodgers has won the World Series in the last ten years.
This year three of the teams in the top five made it to the postseason, as did five ranked in the bottom half in payroll:
New York Yankees (#2) $223 million
Houston Astros (#8) $169 million
Washington Nationals (#7) $172 million
St. Louis Cardinals (#6) $174 million
Atlanta Braves (#15) $144 million
Milwaukee Brewers (#16) $136 million
Minnesota Twins (#18) $125 million
Tampa Bay Rays (#30) $64 million
Oakland A’s (#25) $93 million
As a refreshing change of pace, this year, the Washington Nationals, ranked seventh with a salary of $172 million, won it all. Starting pitcher Max Scherzer topped the Nats’ payroll at $38 million. Scherzer made every penny count, winning every game he pitched when it matters the most –- in October.
Obviously, the Rays and the A’s defied trends yet again by competing despite financial limitations. Over the years, the front office staff of both teams has excelled at putting together teams that defy the odds. In addition, both play in lamentable ballparks, and neither attracts enormous crowds.
Despite those odds, the A’s have made 28 postseason appearances, won 16 division titles, 15 league pennants, and nine championships (the latest in 1989). However, the team has been around since the early 1900s and played in Philadelphia and Kansas City before moving to Oakland in 1968. The Rays have won two division titles, two wild card births, and one American League pennant, accomplishing that in a relatively few years since the team only became a reality in 1998.
Unfortunately, World Series’ winners like the Nationals remain outliers. According to fueledbysports.com, since 1992, a team ranked in the top five in payroll won the big prize every year except the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. Since 1998, the last year the Padres made it to the World Series, the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins) remain the only team ranked lower than 16th to make it all the way.
In their year at the top, the Marlins ranked 25th in payroll, and their highest-paid player, second baseman Luis Castillo, made $4.850 million. Jack McKeon managed that team. He’s remembered fondly by Padres’ fans as Trader Jack, the general manager of the Padres who drafted Tony Gwynn, traded for Garry Templeton and signed Steve Garvey, propelling the team to the 1984 World Series.
In 2020 familiar names will again carry the most in projected payroll:
Yankees $243 million
Red Sox $219 million
Astros $204 million
Cubs $183 million
Dodgers $173 million
The Padres will make a huge jump in salary and ranking. However, $75.5 million will go to just three players: Manny Machado ($32 million), Wil Myers ($22.5 million), and Eric Hosmer ($21 million). There’s a massive gap between those paychecks and the next highest salaried player, newcomer Tommy Pham at $8.6 million. The highest-paid pitcher, Garrett Richards, will take home slightly less at $8.5 million.
So far, two of the big three wage earners have not lived up to their salaries, proving that just throwing money around doesn’t produce guaranteed results. With the pressure on as never before, general manager A.J. Preller has a considerable task in putting together a roster that can at least play .500 ball, let alone compete in the high stakes game of baseball.