The Padres’ bid to sign Trea Turner — which reportedly contained a larger offer than he accepted in Philadelphia, even after accounting for California’s higher income tax — surprised many fans and pundits. The Padres already have it Fernando Tatis Jr., Ha Seong Kim, Manny Machado and Jack Cronenworth as options in the infield, and San Diego also has a pair of $300 million players on its roster in Machado and Tatis (although the former could opt out after the 2023 season).
There has been speculation (included here) whether Padres will spin president of baseball operations AJ Preller and watch the remaining All-Star shortstops go into free agency, but Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Turner was considered a special case and that the Padres were particularly interested in him, rather than add another short stop to the mix. As such, the brothers are unlikely to pursue any of them Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts or Dansby Swanson after being rejected by Turner. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin does write that the Padres checked in with Bogaerts this off-season, but Lin adds that Turner was the team’s “clear” preference. MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell adds that the Padres have not spoken to Kim or Cronenworth about a position change at this time.
Preller acknowledged the team’s interest in Turner and disappointment at not landing him when he spoke with Acee and others to the San Diego beat Monday night. Part of Turner’s appeal, as Preller explained, was his athleticism and experience playing positions other than shortstop, which the Friars felt could create some more flexible lineup choices.
Even with the Padres out of the mix (or on the periphery at best) for the remaining shortstops, the strong bid for Turner is still notable enough. It underscores that even with a star-studded roster and a payroll that many expected to reach peak levels, Padres ownership is willing to spend at levels consistent with the sport’s very top financial powers. The Padres paid the luxury tax in 2022, have an estimated net income of $210 million in 2023 and an expected $230 million in luxury tax liabilities, according to Roster Resource, but were apparently still satisfied with a $300 million+ offer for Turner.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that San Diego will pivot and plunge headlong into the bidding Aaron Judge, but at least it also opens the door for speculation about such high-class pursuits. Preller talked about a corner kick and a starting pitcher as his top needs. Acee suggests that San Diego has been looking at reunions with Josh Bell and Brandon Drury in addition to the recently non-tendered Dominic Smithillustrating the vast array of opportunities the team is now considering with Turner in Philadelphia.