The San Diego Padres Face Financial Issues with Xander Bogaerts Signing
The San Diego Padres are currently grappling with financial problems, and the signing of Xander Bogaerts has only exacerbated their concerns. While Bogaerts is undoubtedly an exceptional Major League player, his deal with the Padres is proving to be problematic.
A Costly Decision
Last winter, the Padres were heavily rumored to be pursuing Aaron Judge and Trea Turner. It was reported that the team offered more money to both players, but they ultimately chose to sign with the Yankees and Phillies. This turn of events seemed to frustrate A.J. Preller, the Padres’ general manager, who then shifted his focus to Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox.
Bogaerts was presented with an 11-year, $280 million deal by the Padres, which was significantly above market value for a 30-year-old player. Despite the excessive offer, Bogaerts accepted it, leading to widespread head-shaking within the baseball community. The Padres now boasted an impressive lineup featuring Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Bogaerts, generating excitement among fans in San Diego.
A Disappointing Season
However, the 2023 season did not unfold as expected for the Padres. The team lacked cohesiveness and struggled to achieve productivity throughout most of the season. Only in the final weeks did they show signs of life, but it was too late to secure a playoff spot, leaving fans disappointed.
Bogaerts himself faced challenges, producing a .790 OPS, his worst since 2017. Dealing with a wrist problem from the beginning of the season, he struggled to consistently perform at his best. Despite this, Bogaerts maintained a professional attitude, never using his injury as an excuse for his subpar performance.
The Timing Issue
The main issue for Bogaerts and the Padres revolves around timing. While his average annual value (AAV) of $25.4 million may not be excessive, the long-term implications of the deal could prove detrimental. As Bogaerts ages, he will likely need to transition from the shortstop position, and his range is already showing signs of decline, which is concerning.
Complicating matters further, Juan Soto is set to become a free agent next winter, and the Padres are actively working to secure the talented outfielder. The money allocated to Bogaerts becomes problematic when considering the potential 0 million investment required to secure Soto long-term. Soto, at 25 years old, has yet to reach his peak performance, and investing such a substantial sum assumes he will continue to improve. This poses a significant risk for the Padres.
A Diminishing Future
It is widely acknowledged that the likelihood of Bogaerts maintaining his offensive productivity throughout the entirety of his contract is low. As a player ages, their reflexes diminish, and there is little that can be done to counteract this natural decline. Consequently, the Padres will likely struggle to extract the same level of production from Bogaerts towards the end of his massive deal.
Furthermore, the Padres face the impending free agency of Blake Snell and Josh Hader this winter. It is unimaginable that the team will not be vying for their services, but the financial burden imposed by Bogaerts’ contract hampers their ability to retain their best starter and reliever from the 2023 season. The Padres’ roster construction becomes challenging when three players, including Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, are earning $300 million each.
A Lesson Learned
The San Diego Padres’ front office went on a spending spree, but now they must confront the consequences. While the team’s future remains bright, stability and balance are desperately needed. It may require significant trades to achieve this equilibrium.
Ultimately, the signing of Xander Bogaerts and his massive contract is proving to be a mistake for the Padres. The repercussions of this deal have the potential to haunt the team for a long time.