The San Diego Padres have been looking to improve the outfield in their lineup this season, and they could have the best upgrade possible with a potential Juan Soto trade. MLB insider Jon Heyman’s hypothetical odds put the Padres as the third-most likely team to land Soto (courtesy of the New York Post).
"GM A.J. Preller nearly signed Soto as an amateur and surely would like another crack at him. While they are reluctant to trade Fernando Tatis, they do have a few top prospects. But there is one big issue. “They don’t have the money,” one rival exec said. Of course, nobody thought they had the money for Manny Machado, or before that even Eric Hosmer. Give them credit for amazing effort. Odds: 15-1."
Soto drives a hard bargain. He recently turned down a 15-year contract with the Washington Nationals worth $440 million, which would’ve been the largest in MLB history. He has two years left of arbitration before being eligible for free agency in 2025. According to Ryan Gaydos at Fox5 DC, “It appears he’s intent on testing the free agent waters after the 2024 season.”
He’s a major asset to the Nationals, so they’ll likely throw him more offers before letting him go. He’s currently one of the best hitters on the team alongside first baseman Josh Bell. The Padres would have to offer a lot of money to Soto and great players to the Nationals to acquire him. However, his future in San Diego wouldn’t be guaranteed past arbitration.
Finding a deal to get Soto would take some careful thought, but he’d be worth it with the right moves.
Because he’s seemingly intent on becoming a free agent upon eligibility and his commitment to any team in the future is unpredictable, the Padres shouldn’t go too far into their farm system to acquire him. They should avoid trading away their best pitching prospects considering All-Star Joe Musgrove’s unclear future in San Diego.
They also should keep their current best hitters, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, to keep the team’s success going in the future.
If they don’t have enough to get a deal done after that, so be it.
Padres trading for Juan Soto would be worth it with the right players involved
Soto is a power hitter, which is exactly what the Padres need. This season, Soto is hitting .250/.405/.497 for an OPS of .902. He also has an isolated power of .247 and great walk and strikeout rates (20.1 and 13.7, respectively), which are all better than the Padres best. Overall, he’s a full-package hitter.
He’s one of the best options, if not the best, for San Diego in the outfield. If the Padres can keep their best players and some of their top prospects, Soto would be a great investment.
Soto started his MLB career just a few years ago in 2018 and has earned an award every year since 2019. In 2020, he had his best season hitting and earned MLB Player of the Week, Silver Bat award and the NL Silver Slugger award.
In 2021 he was worth 7 WAR and he’s been worth 21 WAR for his career so far at age 23.
No current Padres outfielder has done remotely what Soto has done.
Though the Padres will likely compete with several other teams to land Soto, they have a realistic chance at doing so and they should aim to.