Per the norm under A.J. Preller, the San Diego Padres have avoided arbitration and agreed to a contract for the 2023 season with seven players.
Headlining this group, obviously, is Juan Soto, who earned a $6 million raise from last season and is set to earn $23 million in 2023. His salary this year is tied for the fourth-highest mark ever amongst arbitration-eligible players. That figure will almost certainly rise next year when Soto will be one year away from hitting free agency.
Though he’s coming off a relatively down season by his standards, Soto is still, nonetheless, one of the game’s best players. He finished the regular season slashing .242/.401/.452 with 27 home runs and 62 RBIs, drawing 135 walks in the process.
The Padres agreed to a record deal with closer Josh Hader as well, granting the soon-to-be free agent a $14.1 million contract for this upcoming season. Despite his struggles, Hader was pivotal for San Diego in the playoffs and seemingly regained his Hall of Fame-esque self.
The expectation is that Hader will hit the market after this season and earn a lucrative contract, whether it be from San Diego or elsewhere. Hader will be the team’s seventh-highest-paid player this upcoming season.
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Five other players avoided arbitration with the Padres. Two-time All-Star Jake Cronenworth settled at $4.25 million, while Trent Grisham ($3.175 million) and Austin Nola ($2.35 million) earned raises.
Diego works at Prep Baseball Report as an Area Scout in Illinois and Missouri. He graduated this spring with a Bachelor Degree in Communications and played four years of college baseball, logging nearly 50 innings of work in a relief role. Diego hopes to work in an MLB front office one day and has been a Padres fan since he was six years old.