The Padres called them the ‘4-Tops’ back in the day. Tony Gwynn-Fred McGriff-Greg Vaughn-Gary Sheffield.
Maybe we should call this year’s group of stars the ‘Fab 4′, Xander Bogaerts, Manny Machado, Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis.
Quite a roster of stars and of course you can add Yu Darvish and Josh Hader to that list of talent that could describe the Padres as a 1st place team and a World Series contender.
Xan Diego (Xander) comes from Boston after an 11-year run of excellence. He opted out of his 20M a year deal he had signed, every right to do that, to put his talent on the open market.
Glue guy in the infield, power hitter in the lineup, ability to spray the ball to all fields and leader in the clubhouse
Something that won’t show up on any one stat sheet is what he means in the clubhouse. Voice, leader, workaholic, or as he says a ’24-7 man’ for his love of the game.
The Padres payroll is now (254M) which takes the team over the 2nd tier of the Luxury Tax. It means they pay a 50% penalty on salaries above the (233M) limit and then a 62%-tax anything north of (253M).
They also forefeit #2-#5 draft picks and lose 1M in International signing bonus money.
It’s Peter Seidler’s money, it is the legacy he wants to build in his adopted community. GM-AJ Preller was given a blank check, and he overdrew the account, with the owner’s green light signal to do so.
it’s a 2-year window for San Diego to get to the World Series.
Manny Machado can opt out and will likely opt out after next season to see if there is a bigger payday than the 30M he is getting.
You know agent Scott Boras will take Juan Soto onto the open market after the 2024 season, to see if there is a 50M payday out there.
Yu Darvish becomes a free agent at the end of next season as does Blake Snell and Hader. Not to say they cannot re-sign and extend, but keep in mind the odometer totals on those pitching arms when you consider the 30-starts they and Joe Musgrove all made last summer.
Keep in mind, all those innings, and pitching staff’s health issues, are never the same year to year either. You don’t see the Glavine-Smoltz-Maddux model out there very often.
They still need a left field option better than the just signed David Dahl. They might still want some type of part time bat-first baseman.
Maybe Wil Myers at a more affordable contract returns. Maybe Luke Voit. Maybe versatility in Brandon Drury.
Maybe Seth Lugo as a fill in back of the rotation starter, or maybe they let Adrian Morejon go back to starting or figure out the issues with Ryan Weathers.
But considering the fact the Dodgers don’t have 10-players from last year’s team right now, and the Giants have gone 0-for the Winter signing any name free agents, you can see why Padres fans are excited at this moment.
Of course all bills come due and you can expect the Padres to hike ticket prices again a year from now after increasing tickets 20-percent one season and 18-percent this winter.
In Boston they are raging at ownership, for lowballing Xander with a pedestrian (6Y-160M) extension offer as prices rocketed everywhere. This is a Red Sox franchise that has shed the talents of Mookie Betts-David Price, JD Martinez, Christian Vasquez, Kyle Schwarber, Andrew Benetendi, Eduardo Rodriguez, Martin Perez and Craig Kimbrell over the past three off seasons.
In Boston the media now asks the Fenway Sports group, ‘are you more interested in making money than winning?’
Don’t have to ask that of this Padres owner and the rock star GM.
And early Christmas gift to San Diego fans, and a message to everyone in baseball. The Padres are a player on the field-in season, and at the bargaining table in the off season.
4-Tops…Fab 4…damn this is fun.