Like the boxer who keeps getting knocked down to the canvas, San Diego Padres manager A.J. Preller kept getting right back up. Trea Turner didn’t want the Padres’ money, Aaron Judge didn’t want the Padres’ money, but Xander Bogaerts was willing and it’s a whopper of a deal: 11 years and $280 million for the four-time All-Star shortstop.
The Padres now have one of the most impressive foursomes of big-name position players we’ve seen on one team in a long time. It’s the Dave Dombrowski school of roster building: Acquire star players — no matter the cost. Check out the career highs in WAR for this group, according to Baseball-Reference:
Manny Machado: 7.5 (2015)
Juan Soto: 7.1 (2021)
Fernando Tatis Jr.: 6.6 (2021)
Bogaerts: 6.3 (2019)
This group didn’t quite reach those heights in 2022, in large part because Tatis didn’t even play after his offseason motorcycle accident and then a PED suspension. Machado (6.8), Bogaerts (5.8) and Soto (5.6) were all excellent, with Machado finishing second in the NL MVP vote, Bogaerts finishing ninth in the AL MVP vote and Soto ranking fifth in the majors in on-base percentage. Tatis is eligible to return from his 80-game suspension on April 20, early enough that it’s possible the Padres could finish with four 5-WAR position players.