Padres settle with Soto, Hader, five others ahead of arbitration deadline

January 13th, 2023

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have never entered a salary-arbitration hearing with a player during A.J. Preller’s nine seasons as general manager.

That remains true after Friday, the deadline for teams and players to submit arbitration figures, as the Padres reached agreement for 2023 contracts with their seven remaining arb-eligible players.

The agreements were headlined by outfielder and closer , two key players acquired in Trade Deadline blockbusters last summer. Soto and the Padres reached accord at $23 million, a source told's Mark Feinsand, and Hader accepted $14.1 million, according to multiple reports.

Soto, 24, can become a free agent following the 2024 season, but the Padres hope to work out a contract extension before then. As the club headed into the offseason, Preller called Soto a player who “should be here for many years to come.” It could take the largest contract in MLB history to make that a reality.

Hader, 28, is eligible for free agency after the coming season. His $14.1 million salary for 2023 marks a record for a relief pitcher via the arbitration process, either settlement or hearing.

Both Soto and Hader struggled during their adjustment periods following the midseason trades, but Soto still finished 2022 with a .401 on-base percentage and was in the 95th percentile in expected slugging percentage, per Statcast. Hader was briefly removed from the closer’s role when he lost his pitching mechanics, but the hard-throwing left-hander regained form and finished the postseason with eight straight strikeouts.

The Padres also reached agreements with All-Star infielder ($4.225 million), center fielder ($3.175 million), catcher ($2.35 million), left-handed reliever ($1.85 million) and lefty rotation candidate  ($800,000).