The Padres are next in our arbitration eligibles series.
- First time: Clayton Richard, Jeff Fulchino, Luke Gregerson, Will Venable, Nick Hundley, Joe Thatcher, Rob Johnson
- Second time: Chase Headley, Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley, Chris Denorfia, Alberto Gonzalez
- Third time: Jeremy Hermida
With 13 arbitration eligible players, the Padres have the biggest class of the 23 teams we've reviewed to date. It's not a terribly expensive group, however, with no individual projected to exceed a $3MM salary.
The Padres have plenty of non-tender candidates. September waiver claim Fulchino had a rough year; he'd earn $800K or so. Others on the bubble include Thatcher ($800K), Johnson ($700K), Gonzalez ($800K), and Hermida ($500K). There are reasons to retain several of them. Thatcher had a lost 2011 season due to April shoulder surgery, but a strong 2010. Gonzalez plays capable defense. Hermida was a late waiver claim who may merit a look in 2012.
Headley ($3MM), Stauffer ($3MM), Richard ($2MM), Moseley ($1.8MM), Venable ($1.8MM), Hundley ($1.6MM), Gregerson ($1.3MM), and Denorfia ($1.2MM) are on firmer ground. Richard and Moseley had decent but low-strikeout seasons cut short this summer due to shoulder surgery. There are also concerns with guys like Venable and Gregerson, but the prices aren't scary.
I don't expect all 13 players to be retained, but their combined salaries project for about $19.3MM. The Padres have just $13.55MM in 2012 contractual commitments, mostly from their middle infield. Adding the arbitration eligibles puts the team at $33MM in commitments next year, before minimum salary players are considered. Next year's payroll is expected to be in the $53-55MM range, leaving around $20MM in 2012 salaries for GM Jed Hoyer to allocate toward another group of low-risk, moderate reward free agents.
Matt Swartz contributed to this post.