Xander Bogaerts Is A Padre Because All That Money Has To Go Somewhere
12:38 PM EST on December 8, 2022
Is Xander Bogaerts really worth $25.4 million per year until he turns 41? Only if you see baseball's average age swiftly approaching its demographic age.
But is Xander Bogaerts really worth 11 more years of fat money? If you believe that Albert Pujols's Angels contract actually wasn't a colossal error but a harbinger of the future, of course. All you need is an owner with lots of money and a need to burn a bunch of it so he isn't called a cheapskate in the local blogoverse.
And with that as an introduction, we give you Peter Seidler, America's Newest Sugar Daddy. If you can catch a ground ball, he's got a bag for you.
Seidler is the Scrooge McDuck of the San Diego Padres, only he throws other people into his gigantic vault and lets them have an unlimited swim. He was so keister-offended that he couldn't give Trea Turner $340 million or Aaron Judge $400 million that he tied $280 million to a cinderblock and hurled it through Bogaerts's windshield Wednesday night with a contract that seems to have outstripped Boston's desire to keep him by around $100 million. Seidler probably figures he saved either $62 million or $120 million, depending on how you look at it, but we're guessing that he's only holding that $62 million (or $120 million) long enough to find someone else to take it. Maybe he'll grab Rafael Devers to give him the third base depth that Manny Machado alone cannot provide.
Seidler, through his proxy A.J. The Mad (Preller) not only didn't learn the lesson Fernando Tatis was trying to teach him about a fool and his money, he decided that the lesson was actually meant to teach him that throwing money with only one hand is not only inadequate but inefficient.
Now it may be that Preller has tied Seidler to a platinum cabana at the Rancho Valencia and is trying to spend all of Seidler's net worth before he can gnaw his way through the cables, but what he has actually done in the Bogaerts deal is pay three times the rate they paid for incumbent shortstop Fernando Tatis to overcome Tatis's chemical profligacies. It would be easy to assume that Preller's next target is Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson, followed by Minnesota shortstop Carlos Correa and Chicago White Sox shortstop Elvis Andrus as part of his master plan to fool umpires into thinking a 30-foot-high shortstop is actually just one player with a gigantic overcoat.
More to the point, the Padres are now the team with the most brazen financial view, since they still have to figure out how much more than Judge they need to pay Juan Soto when his deal comes up next year. We thought a day ago that the Philadelphia Phillies were the most crazed spenders this side of La Liga, when it turns out that all they are is Barcelona to San Diego's Real Madrid. It's all play money, kids, and everybody dresses up like the Monopoly Man just to walk down the driveway to check the mail.
They are not alone. The Mets have four-fifths of a Smithsonian-aged starting rotation (average age 37, average 2023 salary $28.25 million). The Dodgers are adopting a faux-frugality until they know whether their suspension of Trevor Bauer will allow them to void his contract but if unshackled will be back in the spending business soon enough. The Yankees are, well, the Yankees. They pay what has to be paid when it has to be paid.
But nobody is more ostentatious about how they spend than a team whose predominant color is brown and is named after a cleric with a vow of poverty. The Padres have decided the only way out of their suffocating geographical and public acceptance predicament is to pretend that they are really the Cayman Islands, and Xander Bogaerts is merely another coat of gold paint on the gold bar. They will take no for an answer, but only until they find someone who will give them the yes they crave. And the world's oldest team in 2030 won't be their problem until 2029. By then, the earthquake that makes San Diego a barely inhabited island off the coast of Yuma will have solved all their liquidity problems in the most liquid of ways.