The San Diego Padres made mega-offers to All-Star free agents Trea Turner and Aaron Judge, but they took less money to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees, respectively, as Turner wanted to play on the East Coast and Judge chose to stay in New York. San Diego went fishing in the deep end again and this time reeled in Boston Red Sox All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts. The Friars' odds to win the 2023 World Series – they have never won it all – dropped from +1400 to +1000 at BetMGM with the addition.
The 30-year-old Bogaerts signed an 11-year, $280 million contract to join fellow superstars Juan Soto, Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. in an absolutely loaded lineup. That quintet has 11 combined Silver Slugger awards.
Bogaerts' contract features no opt-outs and a full no-trade clause. Bogaerts had a slash line of .307/.377/.456 with 15 home runs and 73 RBI last season. In each of the last five seasons, he's appeared in at least 84% of his team's games and has produced an OPS+ north of 125. With the deal, the Padres' payroll spikes to more than $250 million – the team is in the 27th-ranked media market in the country. Majority owner Peter Seidler is said to have a net worth of around $3 billion.
The suddenly big-spending Padres previously signed Machado and Tatis to $300 million-plus deals and will have to pony up to keep Soto, a 2022 trade acquisition from Washington, at some point or risk losing him after the 2024 season.
Tatis is eligible to return from his 80-game suspension on April 20, so the Padres could finish with four 5-WAR position players in 2023. That hasn't been accomplished since Boston did it in 2016 with Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., David Ortiz, and Dustin Pedroia. Only one team has ever had four 6-WAR players: The 1927 Yankees, arguably the greatest team ever.
Of course, Tatis Jr. plays shortstop, but he's so injury-prone the club will now likely keep him in the outfield full time. Ha-seong Kim played most of the time at short last year with Tatis Jr. hurt or suspended and Kim will likely move from shortstop to second base. Jake Cronenworth, who played a lot at second, should move to first, but he can play nearly everywhere.
To win the NL pennant, San Diego is now a +475 second favorite, still behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (+330) even though the Dodgers lost Turner and have been relatively quiet. The Padres upset the Dodgers in this year's NLDS.
The clear best player remaining on the free-agent market is former Astros and Twins shortstop Carlos Correa, who seems very likely to land with the Giants (lost out on Judge) or Cubs (were interested in Bogaerts) or to return to Minnesota. Maybe the Dodgers feel the need to get involved heavily with Correa now that San Diego got so much better.
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