3 San Diego Padres who must step up in 2024 if Juan Soto is traded

Juan Soto's expected trade will leave a void in the lineup and three Padres need to step up in 2024 if the franchise is going to be competitive.

San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox
San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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Jake Cronenworth

Frustration at failing to produce is not uncommon, especially when a club like the Padres fails to live up to expectations. Jake Cronenworth underperformed all last season, but he can make the type of impact needed in the lineup if Soto departs by becoming more aggressive at the plate.

In 2023, Cronenworth was under tremendous pressure as he moved from second to first base. The position change allowed Bogaerts to be signed and play at the shortstop position. But Cronenworth failed to produce at the plate as the Padres did not deliver on the spring training hype.

He has been in a downward spiral at the plate since his MLB debut in 2020. In the pandemic-shortened season, Cronenworth batted .285 in 54 games. Since then, his production has steadily declined to a career-low of .229 batting average with 10 homers and 48 RBI last season.

Cronenworth must return to his old batting approach by driving the baseball to the gaps. Last season, he became too preoccupied with pulling pitches over the right-field fence.

The Padres front office is confident that Cronenworth will stay focused on contributing in his role in the batting order ... and everything else will take care of itself.