It’s a New Year, But Questions Remain About the Padres Roster
Peter Seidler, Ron Fowler, A.J. Preller, and Mike Dee. Mandatory Credit: Friarwire (padres.mlbogs.com)
The remaining moves to finalize the Padres roster are, of course, dependent on the money. As Lin points out, Preller has done a remarkable job of overhauling the team without skyrocketing the payroll. In fact, the total salaries of the current roster are within a few million dollars of last year’s payroll.
Kemp and Upton are the only players on the current roster who will earn over $10 million in 2015. And $18 million of Kemp’s $21 million salary will be paid for, ever so thoughtfully, by the Dodgers, leaving Upton’s $14.5 million as the largest expense on the budget.
The other higher-priced players include Joaquin Benoit ($8 million), Quentin ($8 million), Maybin ($7 million), Cory Luebke ($5.25 million – ouch!), and Venable ($4.25 million). Nobody else currently signed will earn over $2.5 million. A handful of players, though, including the top three starters, Alonso, and Amarista, are all arbitration-eligible, with Kennedy likely earning about $10 million, Cashner and Ross in the 5 or 6 million range, and Alonso and Amarista unlikely to cost more than $4 million between them.
In a few short months, Preller has shown a talent in putting together a cost-effective roster. Myers will be under team control for another five years. Norris is not eligible for free agency until 2019. These two could very well form the nucleus of the Padres’ roster for the rest of the 2010’s.
But the ownership’s willingness to let Preller continue to play around with options like Cole Hamels, or whatever other top-level talent he’s currently concocting trade scenarios for, will have a limit. They have stated that they are willing to increase the payroll from last year, and, as of today, there’s likely only a very small increase over last year’s total.
The owners have to be delighted with what Preller has accomplished this year, and, at least publicly, they haven’t set a limit on the 2015 payroll budget. So two scenarios seem possible. One, there is a dollar amount that Preller must adhere to in creating his Padres dream team, and two, that the owners will let Preller accomplish everything, or nearly everything, that he wants to, regardless of the final cost.
Whichever of those options is closer to the truth will determine how the Padres address these remaining roster issues.