The San Diego Padres just wrapped up what might've been the most disappointing season in franchise history. This team that just made the NLCS last season and added Xander Bogaerts to go along with full seasons of Fernando Tatis Jr., Josh Hader, and Juan Soto.
Expectations were sky-high, but the team never quite clicked and finished with an 82-80 record. Not only did the team not come close to their World Series aspirations, they didn't even make the playoffs.
Failure of this magnitude will likely result in several changes. Not only is Bob Melvin's seat hot, chances are, the roster will look quite different. We know stars signed on long-term deals like Tatis, Manny Machado, and Bogaerts will be here, but the rest of the roster is a huge question mark. San Diego has several upcoming free agents and with them looking to cut down on payroll, several difficult decisions will have to be made.
These are 11 players who will not be on the roster next season. Some will depart in free agency, and others will be traded.
1) Padres outfielder Juan Soto will not be back in 2024
This is probably the most controversial one, but as the Juan Soto rumors continue to pick up steam, the likelihood of the Padres trading the superstar outfielder seems to be increasing by the day. This isn't because of the player, this is because of money.
The Padres aim to lower their payroll by a significant margin, and parting ways with Soto helps them do that. They could always try to keep him around for one more year before he hits free agency, but with there being virtually no chance that the team extends him on a long-term deal, the idea of getting something for him before you lose him for nothing is more enticing.
Soto will not net a package close to what the Padres gave up to acquire him, but they should still be able to get a couple of very valuable assets in a deal for Soto. Whether they search for prospects or young MLB players remains to be seen.
At this point I'd be fairly shocked if Soto was still in the brown and gold in 2024. There's simply too much smoke around a potential trade. I wish this story had a different ending, but that's the likely outcome here.