Rumors have abounded this offseason that the San Diego Padres intend to cut $50 million from their payroll, just one year after authorizing massive deals for Aaron Judge and Trea Turner that never came to pass before finally inking a long-term pact with Xander Bogaerts (and taking care of Manny Machado and Yu Darvish).
If you're looking to save $50 million, ditching Juan Soto's ~$30 million (as his final year of arbitration looms) would go a long way towards doing so. If Soto's available, the Yankees should be more than happy to oblige and snag him.
That $50 million got a little more familiar on Wednesday when Evan Drellich, Dennis Lin and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic revealed that San Diego took out a loan of a very similar amount towards the end of the 2023 season to cover their cash flow issues. The Padres asked MLB to approve a $100 million loan. MLB didn't. Both parties settled on $50 million -- and not for frivolous costs like customized Birkin bags or Cody Bellinger. Legitimately, the Padres needed the floater to cover their payroll, which they'd proudly raised mere months earlier.
If the Yankees (and the rest of baseball) were licking their chops about Soto before this news dropped, what about now that the Padres' desperation has gone public?
Padres take out massive loan. Could that lead Yankees to Juan Soto?
The Padres attempted to blow up the offseason in unprecedented fashion last year, and only received Xander Bogaerts' twilight years in exchange for their boldness. Peter Seidler, the man who spurred change in San Diego (and the grandson of Walter O'Malley), underwent a medical procedure in September and is reportedly "on the road to recovery." The team's reported financial turmoil, though, lines up with their savior owner being mysteriously sidelined, which is ominous, to say the least.
This unprecedented leak leaves the Padres in dire straits, and (probably) further reduces the prospect cost of a one-year Soto trade. That cost was already likely quite a bit lower than most estimates, considering Soto and his representation will be aiming to top the $440 million deal they turned down from Washington when he hits free agency this offseason.
Whatever the cause, the Padres' "model" appears to be collapsing after one expensive and chemistry-starved year. The Yankees need to make sure San Diego feels compelled to sell, and must make the Pads' loss their gain now that the financial word is out.