Year after year, we’re always told by multiple local news reports that “Not this year, but next year or the year after is the Padres year. Good farm system, good talented prospects. This team has a good future.” Yet we continue to be disappointed, but what’s going on? Are players not developing? Are players taking longer than expected? Are injuries providing setbacks and/or lowering the ceiling of future potential all-stars? While some of this is true, that’s not the whole story. Sure Cory Luebke had Tommy John Surgery as did other key pitching prospects. But certainly the other players can pick up the slack and at least put together a consistent ball club right? No. Because the Padres are getting what they’ve paid for. Players who wouldn’t see a Major League field on mostly any other team, and a bunch of failed trades due to not signing players they couldn’t “afford”, and some other players that got cut *Adrian Gonzalez* because the owners didn’t want to pay. So how cheap are the Padres owners exactly?
While the exact numbers and results are different per site, the Padres are around the 25/26th spot in team payroll. Taking a look at this number via ESPN, their highest tenured player–Carlos Quentin–is normally injured and is in fact currently on the 15 day DL, playing in 82 of the Padres’ 117 games this season or 70%. While this number isn’t fair because he was suspended for a time, the fact that you’re paying a guy 9.5 million who has a history of injuries, just to provide some power into the Padres lineup (and that he’s done, 2nd in HR’s, 1st in RBI’s and 3rd in BA) yet you couldn’t afford to keep Adrian Gonzalez who left for Boston to make 21 million dollars a year? He wanted to be paid like the top player he was, in San Diego, he wasn’t. The 3rd player on the payroll, Huston Street was brought in only because the Padres didn’t want Heath Bell around that long, contract negotiations were like pulling teeth and led to arbitration which would have given Bell 8.5 million for next season. He declined and instead opted to go to Miami for 9 million a year for 3 years. And while he didn’t pitch well, he was still a dominate closer in San Diego when he left. Street gets paid 7 million dollars, which I will be the first to admit that it isn’t bad, as he was pretty good in Colorado. And then the low of lows, Edinson Volquez who gets paid 5,725,000 dollars and who hasn’t even touched his former self since having Tommy John Surgery in 2009. Volquez averaged an ERA of 4.79 ever since his surgery before being traded to San Diego in a four player deal to give the Padres himself along with Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, and Yasmani Grandal. In return the Padres gave up Mat Latos, a player who was just tapping into his full potential before being traded. The results of this trade? Boxberger is on and off the Big League roster, Grandal has been busted for PED’s and is out with a Torn ACL, Alonso has been pretty solid, but is no Adrian Gonzalez quite yet. And Volquez’s best season since his surgery was last season posting a 4.14 ERA and 174 strikeouts. Both of which are his 2nd best numbers in his career. And let’s not forget the pitcher we got in the Peavy deal that sent a proven MLB All-Star and Cy-Young Award Winner to Chicago for a pitcher who hadn’t seen a sub 4.50 era in his MLB career and one who just made his Major League debut just over a year ago before being traded, that player being Clayton Richard. Now I did like Clayton Richard, but trading for a so far unproven player for a well proven player? Sure Peavy has some injury concerns, but is it really a fair deal? The Padres also obtained Aaron Poreda, who barely saw MLB action in SD. Adam Russell, who pitched for only one season before being let go. And Dexter Carter a player who never even saw a Triple-A field.
Let’s do the math folks, all these players who are either: Injury prone/Likely injured, a part of a failed trade, or a replacement of a player SD didn’t want to pay for. Adding up all their contracts, it’s a total of 27,465,000 million dollars. Subtracting this from the already cheap team we see on the field every day, it’s a total of just 39,678,600 million (but let’s say 40 million for rounding sake and these numbers aren’t 100% accurate anyways) It puts the Padres 28th in team salary, it also puts a FAR margin over the next highest team–Tampa Bay–who is around 58 million. For those who are wondering. It puts them 4 million ahead of Miami, and 18 million ahead of the Astros. Both teams also happen to be 29th, and 30th in the overall standings respectively. Just like the saying goes, “You get what you paid for.” And as for Mat Latos? Let’s just say he’s been performing well, 14-4 last year and so far he’s 11-3 this year with an ERA around 3.30 for both seasons and he’s been striking out batters very efficiently. Yeah, that was a great deal!
So, now that you know how cheap and careless our owners are. Let’s find out how other owners of other team’s are spending money. And see how their product on the field corresponds.
*Payroll numbers brought to you by CBS Sports.
* Currently a division leader.
^ Won a championship in the past 5 years.
# Made the playoffs last year.
& Made a World Series appearance in the past 5 years.
Here are the top 12 team payroll’s in baseball.
1st: New York Yankees-^#&
2nd: Los Angeles Dodgers-*
3rd: Philadelphia Phillies-^&
4th: Boston Red Sox-*
5th: Detroit Tigers-*#&
6th: San Francisco Giants- ^#
7th: Los Angeles Angels-
8th: Chicago White Sox-
9th: Toronto Blue Jays-
10th: St Louis Cardinals- ^#
11th: Texas Rangers- *#&
12th: Washington Nationals- #
Now let’s take a look at the bottom 8, or teams 23-30th using this ranking code.
* No playoff appearances in the last 5 years.
^ Worst record in baseball in the past 5 years.
# Held last place in their division in the last 5 years.
& Currently holds one of the following 3 rankings as mentioned above.
23rd: New York Mets- *
24th: Seattle Mariners- *#
25th: Colorado Rockies- #
26th: San Diego Padres- *#
27th: Oakland Athletics- ^
28th: Tampa Bay Rays-
29th: Miami Marlins- *#&
30th: Houston Astros- *^#&
As you can see, you get what you deserve. You pay for a good product on the field. You get a good one. If you don’t, well you will struggle. Just ask the Marlins and Astros. I’ll leave you fans with this.
We can all thank Mrs. Row Fowler, Josh Byrnes and the biggest joke of them all Jeff Moorad for this product.
While there is a few hits on some Padres players. I, by no means, disrespect any of the Padres players. I understand the hard work and sacrifice it takes to make it to the big leagues. Some of the Padres players I think are still a bit raw and have come up a bit early and are struggling. Which is why I said they wouldn’t make an MLB roster. Because their services either aren’t good enough yet, or are not needed at the time.