Trading Juan Soto amounts to ripping off the financial Band-Aid. Granted, it’s a Band-Aid the size of a surfboard, but it had to happen. The bills are coming due for a franchise that pushed the limits and spent like MLB kings. They learned in 2023 that even a lineup filled with gilded superstars and one of the best rotations in baseball with a Cy Young winner and perhaps the best closer in the game was not enough. The Padres weren’t balanced enough. They weren’t deep enough. In the end, they didn’t produce enough. So when the organization leaned into shedding what could be $33 million or so that Soto would be due in arbitration, it was an acknowledgment of the vice grip of money realities, coupled with spending failing to guarantee much of anything in baseball right now. The top three spenders in the game — the Mets, Yankees and Padres — all were shut out of the postseason. The Diamondbacks, with the 10th-lowest payroll in the game of about $119.3 million according to Spotrac.com, made it to the World Series. The Rays (No. 27 at $79.4 million) and Orioles (No. 28 at $71.1 million) reached the playoffs.