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The San Diego Padres made the NLCS in 2022 for the first time since 1998. They look to have a huge payroll compared to other teams in similar market sizes and already will have a trio of superstars once Fernando Tatis, Jr. returns from suspension -- along with Juan Soto and Manny Machado, obviously. 

And yet, they were still in on Trea Turner before the star shortstop signed with the Phillies for 11 years and $300 million. Not only that, but reports indicated the Padres had the highest bid. In fact, it was reportedly a lot higher. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Padres' offer for Turner was $342 million, $1 million more than the extension fellow star shortstop Francisco Lindor signed with the Mets and $42 million more than he'll have to spend on Wawa hoagies in Pennsylvania.

What does this all mean? Let's take a look. 

The Padres have money to spend

This one is pretty simple and easy. If the Padres had the ability to offer a $342 million deal to Turner -- no matter how many years or how it was structured -- they have at least that much money to play with. 

The Padres right now look to have $184.2 million on the books for 2023 after figuring in arbitration and pre-arbitration salaries, according to baseball-reference.com estimation. It seems like rotation depth is more important than adding another superstar, but it's possible they can make do with Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, Nick Martinez, Adrian Morejon, Julio Teheran and more (Ryan Weathers bounce back?). 

The lineup could certainly use more consistency and there's a hole at first base (or second, should Jake Cronenworth move to the corner to accommodate a middle infielder; or shortstop if Ha-Seong Kim shuffles over to second). This is where Turner would have fit. They'd have gone with him at short, Kim at second, Cronenworth at first and then Turner would have likely led off with Soto and Machado behind him. 

Everyone should be in play

The easy pivot from missing out on Turner would be the rest of the big-name shortstops in Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson

Of course, if the Padres were ready to dish out nearly $350 million for someone else, couldn't they be in play for ... AARON JUDGE

They aren't set at designated hitter or left field, so there's a way to make this work with Judge and Soto in the same lineup. 

If things trickled down, Brandon Nimmo could be an option to play center field if they move Trent Grisham to left. He'd serve as a fine leadoff man and wouldn't cost nearly as much as the other names mentioned above, leaving room for high-priced pitching help as well. 

Speaking of which, Carlos Rodón has a robust market, but, to play the role of broken record here, if the Padres have that much money to spend, they should absolutely be in on Rodón. Other starting pitchers that could be on the radar: Chris Bassitt, Jameson Taillon, Andrew Heaney and Kodai Senga. 

Catchers Willson Contreras and Christian Vazquez are available, too, and should be looked at. 

J.D. Martinez at DH? 

Again, everyone should be in play if the Padres were willing to spend $342 million on Trea Turner. They were incredibly aggressive with him, so they'll likely be aggressive with other players. 

Possible future impact on Machado and/or Soto

In general, far too many people have been brainwashed for far too long into worrying too much about the bottom line of the billionaire team owners. They are all doing just fine, so stop protecting their money in your social media arguments. 


If the Padres do load up on several more big names this offseason, the hunch is that at some point ownership would step in and say the payroll is too high for the San Diego market. That's just the way things go outside the megamarkets and, hell, a lot of times inside those markets. 

The long-term implications of a deal with someone like, say, Judge, would likely be less about ownership and more about two current players, though. 

Machado has an opt-out clause after 2023, after which he would have five years and $160 million left on his deal heading toward his age-31 season. The way he is playing right now, in addition to how the market is shaking out for marquee free agents, says he'll get a lot more than that in free agency. Barring a surprise, he's almost definitely going to opt out. 

Soto, meanwhile, is set to hit free agency after 2024 and reportedly already rejected some jaw-dropping extension offers from the Nationals before being dealt. 

These are all pieces of the puzzle in looking at how Padres general manager A.J. Preller would be looking to build this team moving forward. It's a lot more complicated, but it's possible Preller is just looking to go totally all in on 2023 before figuring out what to do later, knowing in the back of his mind he could be losing Machado after this year and Soto after next. 

As such, adding someone like Judge, Correa, Rodón, etc. doesn't become quite as cumbersome in looking at future payrolls through the lens of ownership worrying about payroll. 

The bottom line is that the Padres offering $342 million to Trea Turner and losing out might not seem like huge news tells us a lot more about San Diego than we knew last week. They're going for it.