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Why Can't the Twins Spend Like the Padres?


The Padres made a splash on the final day of MLB's Winter Meetings by signing Xander Bogaerts. So, why can't the Twins spend like the Padres? The answer is complicated.

Image courtesy of Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of every MLB team want their franchise to spend more money. It is one of the most straightforward solutions to improve a team because increasing payroll allows clubs to add the best free agents. However, spending more money is no guarantee of success. Plenty of small market teams are annual contenders because of their player development and smart front offices. The Twins and the Padres take different approaches to create their 26-man roster, so why are these clubs so different?

Payroll Comparison
Last season, the Padres had a payroll of $214 million, with three players making more than $16 million. Minnesota's payroll was $72 million less than the Padres, with Carlos Correa accounting for 24.7% of the team's $142 million payroll. San Diego has Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. signed to contracts worth over $300 million. Yu Darvish and Wil Myers are making $20 million or more in 2022. Currently, the Padres only trail the Mets and Yankees for the highest projected payroll for the 2023 campaign. 

Market Size
Compared to other MLB teams, the Padres are a clear mid-market team, which is one reason San Diego is down to one professional sports team. MLB's three largest markets (New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago) all have multiple MLB franchises The San Diego metropolitan area, and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul markets are similar in population. It seems logical that both teams can spend similar amounts on payroll, but that isn't the case. 

TV Deals
One of the club's most significant revenue sources is its TV deal. Minnesota is entering the final year of a 12-year, $480 million deal that pays the club around $40 million annually. In 2012, the Padres signed a 20-year deal for $1.2 to 1.5 billion, putting the average annual payments to the club in the $50-$75 million range. The Padres also have a 20% equity share in the network broadcasting their games, which means the club can earn more revenue as more fans watch games. Minnesota's expiring TV deal will be interesting to watch over the next year. Will the club be able to spend more in 2023 and beyond because of increased revenue from a new deal?   

AL Central Comparison
Minnesota is in one of baseball's weakest divisions, and the club has a higher payroll than every team in the division besides Chicago. Last week, Ted Schwerzler discussed that the Twins' payroll should be closer to $160 million than $140 million. Cleveland easily won the AL Central last season with a payroll below $70 million. Some expect the Guardians' payroll to increase as a new ownership group gains more say in the team's spending. Detroit has also shown a willingness to spend when the club is in contention.

There are similarities between San Diego and Minnesota regarding market size, but the Padres have continually outspent the Twins. Rosters are incomplete for the 2023 season, but it seems unlikely for the Twins to get anywhere near the $235 million projected for the Padres. Minnesota's TV deal is hampering some of its revenues, but they are spending more than enough to be competitive in the AL Central. 

Should the Twins spend similarly to the Padres? Will a new TV deal help the team's willingness to spend? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

 


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I admire the Padres' philosophy. While the Padres might be lessening their year-to-year profits, I'm curious if the success of the franchise will increase its overall value in the long-term. If the Padres are able to win a World Series or two in the next 5 years, the franchise's value would likely increase and make up for any annual reductions in profit. 

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To me it doesn't have to be either $140 or $235. There's a lot of room in between. If the Twins don't want to spend $200m every year I can accept that. But there should be peaks to go with the valleys because what they are doing now isn't working as far as winning or attendance is concerned. 

I know it is a 'chicken and the egg' situation but to me 'if you build it, they will come.' In other words, if the Twins spent up for a few seasons and won a few playoff games Target Field would be the hottest ticket in town all summer. If you look at the attendance by season there is a direct correlation with winning going back to the Metrodome days. 

The Twins averaged more fans per season every year from 2002-2009 at the Metrodome than they did last season at beautiful Target Field. 

If you want to run the team as 'small (or mid) market,' you are going to make small (or middling) revenue. Gotta spend some money to make money. 

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11 minutes ago, Parfigliano said:

Easy  answer is the Padres ownership is willing to spend the money.  Twins ownership is not.

Yep. There is no secret sauce. It’s literally the philosophical difference between an owner running the team like a business vs. an owner who wants to bring joy to the community. 

@Game7-91 had an excellent thread a couple of months ago highlighting this exact philosophical difference. 

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Rumor ahs it that whenb the Twins saw what the Padres were doing, they started to cull together offers to top the Padres offers, but the photocopy machine ran out of paper and the players ended up signing elsewhere.

 

But, hey, at least they thought they were in the hunt.

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I agree that the Padres payroll aggressiveness is odd in comparison with their peers. 

However, there a few things to consider.

1. Payroll has only gone up in the past two years. Payroll was unimpressive prior.  

2. Once you drain the farm and they drained the farm with the Soto trade. If you want to improve the club with no farm. You have nobody to call up and nobody to trade. That leaves one option... spend even more money. The Padres just might be in that boat at the moment. 

3. The window is closing fast so maybe this is the final push in. There is a large line of players hitting the exit doors next year. Machado has an opt-out, Darvish, Snell, Hader will be free agents. Soto is a free agent the year after that. 

Farm has to be rebuilt, trades difficult with big contracts and no prospects to offer, Darvish, Snell, Hader need more money to stay, Arb Raises for others.

The question is this: Can the Padres keep playing this big money game into the future when increasing it is the only way to sustain it.

We will have to wait and see... but for those who want to simplify the discussion by saying it's an owner that is willing to spend and drop the mic.

There are other things to consider. 

 

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Right, their TV deal sucks. 

It's correct, but what is the difference between what they have vs say the Padres? My guess is it would amount to another 20 million a year spent at most. 

The Pad's spend because they want to, and the Twins don't spend because they don't. Even if they are to end up with Correa, it will come at the expense of signing guys down the line or even keeping our homegrown talent here. Twins have always done it this way. There is a reason why there are alot of fans of this team can't stand them(Pohlads) 

I honestly think they do a fine job now. But when they were winning and had some real stud players here(see last few years in the dome + first few years in Target field) they flat out dropped the ball. They were cheap and they literally threw away about 10 years of competitive teams because they would not push the envelope both payroll wise, and/or trading prospect wise. 

Twins are going to have to actually win big to get back some fans or convince them they aren't cheap. They just have hammered their fans into oblivion and all but the most rapid ones are pretty much gone...

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6 minutes ago, Riverbrian said:

I agree that the Padres payroll aggressiveness is odd in comparison with their peers. 

However, there a few things to consider.

1. Payroll has only gone up in the past two years. Payroll was unimpressive prior.  

2. Once you drain the farm and they drained the farm with the Soto trade. If you want to improve the club with no farm. You have nobody to call up and nobody to trade. That leaves one option... spend even more money. The Padres just might be in that boat at the moment. 

3. The window is closing fast so maybe this is the final push in. There is a large line of players hitting the exit doors next year. Machado has an opt-out, Darvish, Snell, Hader will be free agents. Soto is a free agent the year after that. 

Farm has to be rebuilt, trades difficult with big contracts and no prospects to offer, Darvish, Snell, Hader need more money to stay, Arb Raises for others.

The question is this: Can the Padres keep playing this big money game into the future when increasing it is the only way to sustain it.

We will have to wait and see... but for those who want to simplify the discussion by saying it's an owner that is willing to spend and drop the mic.

There are other things to consider. 

 

Right, it is probably almost over. But wouldn't you rather have a real chance to win a title or at least playoff games for a period of years, then tear it down if you have to and start over?

Or would you rather wait and wait and wait and wait for your guys to develop and hope you can catch lightning in a bottle one of those years. Employ Justin Tyner as your DH when you have the best pitcher that has ever put on a Twins uniform. Or trot our Carl Pavano as your Ace when you have a lineup that is killer and 2 of the best lefthanded bats your org has ever seen. 

I don't know, I am not saying what San Diego has done is the right thing, but at least their fans feel like they might have a chance, which is more than you can say around here if everyone is being honest with themselves.  

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A few things.  If you are saying the markets are similar, but you point out Padres are only team around, in all major sports, but MN has many major sports teams, so to compare the two seem a little odd.  Now if you are saying because each only has 1 baseball team with similar market okay lets go from there.

Now, we do not know what the actual books look like.  For all we know Padres are losing money right now, or barely breaking even.  We also do not know if the Twins are raking in money, or barely breaking even.  Those decisions of what to spend is up to the owner.  Neither should be expected to lose money, and how much they make that is also up to them. 

In addition, Padres did not start spending until 2018.  Until then they were a well below average payroll.  In 2018, they surprised people with big FA deal for Hosmer, then in 2019, Machado, and other players as years went on.  They continued to make big splashes and move up to top of payrolls.  Has it translated to wins, not really. 

They are trying to build winner through trades and big FA deals.  They have yet to build a good winning team, despite brining in big time FA, and trading for top prospects.  

Could the Twins spend like Padres, yes.  Will it mean wins, no.  You need to spend smart, still make good trades, and draft well.  Rumors are we are willing to spend big on Correa, and we had offered larger contracts on players that have signed else where.  Just because you have money to spend does not mean you should spend it on bad players.  Look at how Angels have continually spent bad on players over the years.  Despite having the best player of this generation, they have only made playoffs 1 time with him.  They kept spending on top FA only to not make playoffs for years. 

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2 hours ago, DJL44 said:

Every team in baseball could spend like the Padres. The Padres are willing to take less profit to try to win a championship. Oakland is making more profit than San Diego by slashing payroll and pocketing revenue sharing checks.

Have you ever heard the expressing of "spending money like a drunken sailor"? 

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17 minutes ago, Riverbrian said:

I agree that the Padres payroll aggressiveness is odd in comparison with their peers. 

However, there a few things to consider.

1. Payroll has only gone up in the past two years. Payroll was unimpressive prior.  

2. Once you drain the farm and they drained the farm with the Soto trade. If you want to improve the club with no farm. You have nobody to call up and nobody to trade. That leaves one option... spend even more money. The Padres just might be in that boat at the moment. 

3. The window is closing fast so maybe this is the final push in. There is a large line of players hitting the exit doors next year. Machado has an opt-out, Darvish, Snell, Hader will be free agents. Soto is a free agent the year after that. 

Farm has to be rebuilt, trades difficult with big contracts and no prospects to offer, Darvish, Snell, Hader need more money to stay, Arb Raises for others.

The question is this: Can the Padres keep playing this big money game into the future when increasing it is the only way to sustain it.

We will have to wait and see... but for those who want to simplify the discussion by saying it's an owner that is willing to spend and drop the mic.

There are other things to consider. 

 

And how has the cowardly Twin's way worked out so far? Oh yeah, just the worst losing streak in pro sports history...

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Do you think that the Twins low payroll may be the only reason the Twins are still in Minnesota, because the Twins organization, as it exists, is not capable of making much more gross income? If the owners spend much more money on expensive players, but have few fans attending games and have a low paying tv deal, resulting in little revenue and no profit, then the Twins organization will lose money. And if the business is losing money, then the business owners may want/need to sell the business to the highest bidder and the highest bidder may live in North Carolina and want to move the Twins to Charlotte?  So Twins fans who live in Minnesota, be grateful for low spending owners. This is the only reason the Twins are still a Minnesota team. "If your out go exceeds your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall." Sincerely, tarheeltwinsfan, B.A. in Economics, University of North Carolina.

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4 minutes ago, Battle ur tail off said:

Right, it is probably almost over. But wouldn't you rather have a real chance to win a title or at least playoff games for a period of years, then tear it down if you have to and start over?

Or would you rather wait and wait and wait and wait for your guys to develop and hope you can catch lightning in a bottle one of those years. Employ Justin Tyner as your DH when you have the best pitcher that has ever put on a Twins uniform. Or trot our Carl Pavano as your Ace when you have a lineup that is killer and 2 of the best lefthanded bats your org has ever seen. 

I don't know, I am not saying what San Diego has done is the right thing, but at least their fans feel like they might have a chance, which is more than you can say around here if everyone is being honest with themselves.  

Do their fans really feel like they have a chance?  They started spending big on FA and making tons of trades back in 2018.  Hosmer deal really started it.  They finished 66-96 in 2018.  2019, they finished 70-92, both last place finishes, despite then spending big on Machado.  Then 2020, they finally got out of basement but still second place.  2021, third place again below 500 at 79-83, despite trading for Yu Darvish and Blake Snell.  

This year they bounced back some, even without having Tatis play, so they do have hope, with other trades and deals they have made.  However, I would not say they have a big chance being their team still continues to have holes despite them throwing money and every prospect they have at filling them. 

They are choosing one way to build a team, but I would say it is a flawed way in my opinion.  Are Twins building it the best way, maybe not either.  I still say team building comes down to player development.  If you cannot develop your own players through draft, international signings, it really does not matter you teams will still have holes.  

Rumors are Twins are willing to spend more, the question is will the players sign with them?  Should we throw bad money at players like Hosmer, who everyone said was overpaid at the time, simply to say we spent big?  I mean we could go out and offer Andrew Benintendi 10 years and 200 mil, just to say we spent big, but is he really worth 20 mil a year?  I am not hearing anyone saying he is. We could offer Chris Bassitt 40 mil a year too, just to say we signed a pitcher, but should we?  

I am not saying we should not try to sign CC or Rodon if the money works, but if they sign elsewhere we should not just go and spend the money we were going to on the next best option just because we have the money to spend. 

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6 minutes ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

If the owners spend much more money on expensive players, but have few fans attending games and have a low paying tv deal, resulting in little revenue and no profit, then the Twins organization will lose money.

The Twins would have to spend at the luxury tax level to lose money. They aren't anywhere near that.

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It's probably about the window is just opening or closing when it comes to spending.

The Padres are in a have to win in the next season or two rut. Machado can opt out after 2023 Davish and Snell are free agents after 2023 and Soto is a free agent the following season. By 2025 Xander and Tatis may be about all that's left of the team they will have this year.

Most of our position players, bull pen and maybe 1/2 the people who start games this year will likely still be on the team at the start of 2025.

Got a little off topic there... Can we spend like the Padres are. Of course. Did we just go to the league championship game? Not even close. Until we actually make some noise in the playoffs I wouldn't expect to many 11 year contracts just to spend like the Padres.

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1 hour ago, Battle ur tail off said:

Right, it is probably almost over. But wouldn't you rather have a real chance to win a title or at least playoff games for a period of years, then tear it down if you have to and start over?

Or would you rather wait and wait and wait and wait for your guys to develop and hope you can catch lightning in a bottle one of those years. Employ Justin Tyner as your DH when you have the best pitcher that has ever put on a Twins uniform. Or trot our Carl Pavano as your Ace when you have a lineup that is killer and 2 of the best lefthanded bats your org has ever seen. 

I don't know, I am not saying what San Diego has done is the right thing, but at least their fans feel like they might have a chance, which is more than you can say around here if everyone is being honest with themselves.  

I'm complicated so I see complication in your question. "Real Chance" requires your definition of real chance.

Did the Guardians have a real chance last year? Your answer will determine if we are speaking the same language.  ?

 

As for Jason Tyner... I never want to go back to those days again. We went through a decade of not signing free agents and not developing. It was a decade of treading water with average to below average talent getting every day playing time. I never want to go back to those days again.

I want development front and center. I think there are times to push today but you always have to have an eye on tomorrow. I know Dombroski has won some titles but he left behind rubble in the process. I'm not sure that I want that. Development is the only way to stay bullet proof. The Dodgers are the most bulletproof team I can think of... It isn't the money... Well Yeah it helps but the Dodgers farm is what deflects the bullets. 

BTW... The Padres with all that money spent will still need lightning in a bottle. All 30 teams need that Lightning. 

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46 minutes ago, TwinsRealist said:

And how has the cowardly Twin's way worked out so far? Oh yeah, just the worst losing streak in pro sports history...

You will need to do better than that.  

But... if you want that simple approach for a discussion. OK... my response. 

And how has the "Flying Monkey" (I assume we are doing Wizard of Oz) Padre's way worked out so far? Oh Yeah, 2 Years over .500. 

 

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An interview with the owner of the Padres a couple weeks ago provides the simple answer.  He said two things:

1.  I love to spend money.

2,  You can't take it with you.

If the Pohlads would adopt this attitude, then the Twins could spend like the Padres.

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1 hour ago, Trov said:

A few things.  If you are saying the markets are similar, but you point out Padres are only team around, in all major sports, but MN has many major sports teams, so to compare the two seem a little odd.  Now if you are saying because each only has 1 baseball team with similar market okay lets go from there.

Now, we do not know what the actual books look like.  For all we know Padres are losing money right now, or barely breaking even.  We also do not know if the Twins are raking in money, or barely breaking even.  Those decisions of what to spend is up to the owner.  Neither should be expected to lose money, and how much they make that is also up to them. 

In addition, Padres did not start spending until 2018.  Until then they were a well below average payroll.  In 2018, they surprised people with big FA deal for Hosmer, then in 2019, Machado, and other players as years went on.  They continued to make big splashes and move up to top of payrolls.  Has it translated to wins, not really. 

They are trying to build winner through trades and big FA deals.  They have yet to build a good winning team, despite brining in big time FA, and trading for top prospects.  

Could the Twins spend like Padres, yes.  Will it mean wins, no.  You need to spend smart, still make good trades, and draft well.  Rumors are we are willing to spend big on Correa, and we had offered larger contracts on players that have signed else where.  Just because you have money to spend does not mean you should spend it on bad players.  Look at how Angels have continually spent bad on players over the years.  Despite having the best player of this generation, they have only made playoffs 1 time with him.  They kept spending on top FA only to not make playoffs for years. 

 

the Padres made the NLCS last year, i'd say that's making progress..

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34 minutes ago, weitz41 said:

It's probably about the window is just opening or closing when it comes to spending.

The Padres are in a have to win in the next season or two rut. Machado can opt out after 2023 Davish and Snell are free agents after 2023 and Soto is a free agent the following season. By 2025 Xander and Tatis may be about all that's left of the team they will have this year.

Most of our position players, bull pen and maybe 1/2 the people who start games this year will likely still be on the team at the start of 2025.

Got a little off topic there... Can we spend like the Padres are. Of course. Did we just go to the league championship game? Not even close. Until we actually make some noise in the playoffs I wouldn't expect to many 11 year contracts just to spend like the Padres.

so what? if they can't win games who gives a crap if they are still on the roster...

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25 minutes ago, Riverbrian said:

You will need to do better than that.  

But... if you want that simple approach for a discussion. OK... my response. 

And how has the "Flying Monkey" (I assume we are doing Wizard of Oz) Padre's way worked out so far? Oh Yeah, 2 Years over .500. 

 

they were in the NLCS last year.  when was the last time the Twins were in the ALCS?

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32 minutes ago, Riverbrian said:

I'm complicated so I see complication in your question. "Real Chance" requires your definition of real chance.

Did the Guardians have a real chance last year? Your answer will determine if we are speaking the same language.  ?

 

As for Jason Tyner... I never want to go back to those days again. We went through a decade of not signing free agents and not developing. It was a decade of treading water with average to below average talent getting every day playing time. I never want to go back to those days again.

I want development front and center. I think there are times to push today but you always have to have an eye on tomorrow. I know Dombroski has won some titles but he left behind rubble in the process. I'm not sure that I want that. Development is the only way to stay bullet proof. The Dodgers are the most bulletproof team I can think of... It isn't the money... Well Yeah it helps but the Dodgers farm is what deflects the bullets. 

BTW... The Padres with all that money spent will still need lightning in a bottle. All 30 teams need that Lightning. 

I'll take the rubble for a couple of championships.  we get rubble and we don't even win anything.

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It would be better if we had an owner that has a passion for the game and spend on a contender  ,not a competitive team like we always seem to have ....

If the window is open , spend more than an opposition for a couple of years to bring a real contending  team to the fans  ...

Do we really have a window open as of yet ,,, with the play of the team the past few seasons  and what the front office calls a plan , I'm not sure the window is quite open  , I hope I'm wrong ....

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