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?
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.
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.
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.