The San Diego Padres extended two core pieces to their team this offseason to long contracts. Manny Machado and Yu Darvish will be in the brown and gold for a long time.
A.J. Preller decided he wasn't done, as he inked Jake Cronenworth to a seven-year extension worth $80 million right after Opening Day. This kept another core piece in San Diego for the long term.
Most of the Padres core is locked in for a little while now, but there're three players approaching free agency without extensions. The Padres should extend one of them right now while holding off on the other two.
The San Diego Padres should extend Juan Soto
Juan Soto's Padres career hasn't gotten off to the greatest of starts as the star outfielder had just a .778 OPS last season in his time with the Padres and has a .707 OPS to begin this season. He's still walking as he leads the league with 17 walks in 18 games, but Soto is hitting just .164 with three home runs.
The slow start is annoying, but there's no reason to think this will last. The Padres should extend Juan Soto sooner than later.
Soto is just 24 years old and, despite his poor San Diego tenure, is on a Hall of Fame trajectory. Yes, he's that good.
Extending Juan Soto even if it's for 13 years like Bryce Harper got would take him through his age 37 season. It's not the same as Machado, Bogaerts, and Darvish who will all be in their 40's. The Padres will get Soto in his prime for the duration of the deal.
Soto has very little reason to extend right now unless he really loves San Diego. He reportedly turned down a 15-year deal worth $440 million before Washington ended up trading him to the Padres. The offer will be massive, but worthwhile.
When right, Soto is a guy who can hit over 30 homers while getting on base at an absurd clip. Even this season with Soto hitting .164 so far, he has a .346 OBP. Last season he hit .242 overall and had an OBP over .400.
Soto is one of the best hitters in the game when right, and the Padres would be foolish to not at the very least try to extend him before the 29 other teams can bid on his services.