Money may not be the be-all and end-all of what constitutes a successful professional sports franchise, but it certainly helps grease the wheels when it comes to assembling a roster that could compete for a championship. Entering the 2023 season, three MLB teams, in particular, flexed their financial might, with the New York Mets, New York Yankees, and San Diego Padres ranking one, two, and three, respectively, in the MLB payroll leaderboard. However, those three teams learned the hard way that spending money, in a vacuum, doesn't necessarily guarantee a successful season.
With the Padres being officially eliminated from playoff contention after the Miami Marlins' 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night, the NL West disappointment will be joining their fellow big spenders Mets and Yankees on the outside looking in on the postseason. This is only the second time this has happened in the Wild Card era (since 1995), per ESPN Stats & Info, with the only other occurrence of this wasteful spending of resources happening in 2008, when the Mets, Yankees, and Detroit Tigers all missed the playoffs.
Given how many teams make the playoffs these days (back in 2008, only eight total teams made the playoffs; in 2023, 12 teams do), this is simply a disappointing outcome for the league's freest spenders. Of course, spending an infinite amount of money doesn't guarantee good health (in the Yankees' case), good luck (in the Padres' case, since they've underperformed their +98 run differential), and good performance (in the Mets' case).
However, as it is in life, money will help cushion these three teams' plummet, so don't expect these three teams to stay down for long. Having an ownership group that's willing to splash the cash means that they will have more resources than most franchises to plug whatever holes they need to just so they could compete in 2024. With Shohei Ohtani hitting the market, expect these three teams to do whatever it takes to add one of the best players in the league, no matter how much it costs.
For the Padres, they may have to invest in NL Cy Young favorite Blake Snell as well, just so they could ensure that they have the top-end talent to front their rotation in preparation for a playoff push in 2024.