San Diego Padres reportedly plan to make massive payroll cuts in 2024

The San Diego Padres have been one of the highest-spending teams in Major League Baseball for several years now. With the 2023 MLB season drawing to a close, the Padres are reportedly planning significant spending cuts for the 2024 season.

After having the eighth-highest MLB payroll in 2021 ($179.764 million), San Deigo increased its spending in 2022 ($224.511 million payroll) and 2023 ($253 million). Despite investing even more money into the on-field product, the Padres made it to the NLCS just once in the last four years and missed the MLB playoffs twice.

  • San Diego Padres stats 2023: 732 runs scored (13th), .244 batting average (19th), .330 OBP (7th), .416 SLG (13th), 3.83 ERA (5th), 72 quality starts (2nd), 1.29 WHIP (14th)

San Diego has struggled throughout the 2023 season. Despite boasting a roster featuring Cy Young and NL MVP candidates, the team never played consistent baseball. While a late run in September helped the club make things interesting, San Diego will not make the playoffs in 2023. Now, the front office and ownership are already making plans for 2024.

According to Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres are planning to slash payroll this 2024 and have significantly less money on their books next season. As of now, the current plan is to finish next season with a payroll of around $200 million.

“How much the team is bringing in is not a known number, though one highly placed source says the team has doubled revenue since 2018 and others around baseball marvel at the impressive gains. However, the size of the payroll is known, and it has jumped from $104 million in 2018 to the season-ending figure of around $253 million in ’23. In part because they are out of compliance with MLB regulations regarding their debt service ratio, according to multiple sources, the plan is to go into 2024 with player commitments of around $200 million.”

Kevin Acee on 2024 San Diego Padres payroll

Reducing the payroll by upwards of $50 million will result in dramatic changes to the roster. Among the Padres’ free agents this year, All-Star closer Josh Hader and NL Cy Young candidate Blake Snell will both likely leave in free agency. It leaves two huge holes for San Diego to fill, but it will have to find front-line pitching and improve its bullpen without spending more money.

The decision to cut payroll also increases the likelihood of Juan Soto not returning in 2025. If the Padres cut off contract extension talks with the All-Star outfielder, he could emerge as a coveted MLB trade candidate in 2024. Depending on the team’s level of success, it’s possible one of the best players in MLB is traded for the second time in three years.

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