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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Matt Carpenter

Matt Carpenter’s arrival in San Diego was supposed to balance the Friars lineup with another proven run-producer. Instead, the big expectations drifted away as he hit .176 in 76 games. Carpenter failed to provide the much-needed power out of the DH position (5 home runs in 188 at-bats). Since 2020, it was the third season he recorded a batting average under .200.

The DH position needs an upgrade, as it was a weak link in the Padres lineup. Collectively, the Friars DHs ranked 28th in the majors for team DH batting average (.193). It would be easy for the Padres to go in a different direction, whether a stopgap option or a long-term solution via trade or free agent market.

The pending departure of Soto places a need for a proven left-handed stick in the lineup. Carpenter’s stock has fallen, but he will have an opportunity to reverse last season’s struggles. The Friar Faithful hopes he regains his stroke and gives the Padres a chance to win games.

The Padres front office is committed to fielding a competitive roster in 2024. However, it is unknown if Carpenter will be the team’s left-handed hitting option in a platoon at the DH position. But an uncertain offseason leaves the door open for an opportunity. To remain on the roster in 2024, he will need to hit much better in spring training.