The San Diego Padres got rid of their most expensive arbitration-eligible player this past year when the club decided to trade Juan Soto to the New York Yankees. Soto and the Yanks settled on a salary of $31 million for the upcoming season.
That's a big number. In fact, it's a record. Soto and the Yankees agreed to the deal before Thursday's 8 pm ET deadline. Prior to Soto's payday, Shohei Ohtani had the largest single-season deal on record at $30 million.
But the Friars did still have a few players who were up for arbitration with the 2024 season just around the corner, and the club made a minor-league signing with a feel-good story attached to it.
Padres News: San Diego signs pitcher Lake Bachar to minor-league contract
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Padres have signed relief pitcher Lake Bachar, who was former fifth-round draft pick of San Diego back in 2016. Bachar received a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training.
Bachar is 28 years old, but still has not made it to The Show. A veteran of eight minor league seasons, Bachar will be attempting to make his major league dreams a reality in 2024. This past season, while pitching in Double-A San Antonio, Bachar went 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA and 69 strikeouts.
Last year's performance was Bachar's best since he played in Rookie Ball all the way back in 2017. There'll be some fierce competition to land a spot in the Friars bullpen, but Bachar will be an easy guy to root for once spring training begins next month.
Padres arbitration recap
With Soto gone, the San Diego Padres had just four players who were eligible for arbitration. All four inked a one-year deal with the club on Thursday and avoided arbitration. According to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune, Michael King will be the highest-paid of the four, taking home just over $3 million next season.
Kyle Higashioka will earn $2.18 million, Enyel De Los Santos settled at $1.16 million, and Adrian Morejon will make $850,000 in 2024. The Padres now have a better idea of their overall budget heading into next season and still have some holes on the roster.