Arbitration Eligibles: San Diego Padres

The Padres are next in our arbitration eligibles series.

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.

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