If you recall, Juan Soto was the biggest storyline last year during All-Star media day. He had turned down a $400+ million extension with the Washington Nationals so it seemed pretty clear he was going to get dealt.
Fast forward a year and there could be a question or two about another trade. I know Peter Seidler told Kevin Acee earlier this month the Padres are “not going to reverse course” and it doesn’t seem like there’s a ton of national conversation about Soto’s future in San Diego, but it does make sense to talk about it because of where the Padres sit.
There were World Series expectations going into Opening Day and although they just swept the Los Angeles Angels, they haven’t been able to be consistent enough on offense and the bullpen has been shaky lately. San Diego finished the first half of the season at 37-44 and are now 41-46.
If the Padres continue to be under .500 through the deadline does it make sense to keep Soto when he’s getting closer and closer to commanding a $500 million contract in free agency (as a Scott Boras client) and San Diego will only have one more shot at winning a title with him? Plus, they could use the $30+ million he’ll probably earn in arbitration next year on a controllable player/players.
Even without Soto, the Padres should be a contender with a core of Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Jake Cronenworth, Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish and Fernando Tatis Jr. Tickets will still be sold. Jerseys will still be purchased.
I’d love to have Soto long-term but if he doesn’t want to engage in extension talks, the idea of a trade that could net them back some major league and top prospect talent makes some sense.
Media day in Seattle should be interesting.