The San Diego Padres have made no bones about the fact that they are pushing all their chips to the center of the table. As if signing Manny Machado and locking up Fernando Tatis Jr. wasn't enough, AJ Preller made an earth-shattering trade trade to acquire a true superstar in Juan Soto.
Between Tatis, Soto, Machado, and newly-minted shortstop Xander Bogaerts, the Padres are spending close to $1 billion in terms of the total contract value those four players have earned. Naturally, that price tag is bringing with it some speculation about how long this club can stay together.
According to Dennis Lin of The Athletic, there have been doubts about San Diego's ability to keep Soto in town beyond the 2024 season. Considering that he is a generational offensive talent who happens to be represented by Scott Boras, it makes sense as to why San Diego might not be able to hold onto him.
Lin also said that Machado appears to be the more likely of the two to sign a new long-term deal with San Diego. Not only is he going to be cheaper and not have the Boras cloud hanging over him, but his familiarity with the franchise could play a part.
Will the San Diego Padres retain Juan Soto?
Soto's 162-game paces are absolutely mind-boggling. Not only is he averaging just under one walk per game (148 BB per 162), but he is hitting .286 with 32 home runs and 90 RBI. There is no one in the league that can get on base at a 44% clip like Soto can.
The Padres might not be able to keep all four of their stars, though Tatis and Bogaerts appear to be locked in due to how their deals are structured. Machado and Soto might be in a similar tier right now, but Soto's youth will be key to getting a deal done.
The problem with letting Soto go is the fact that the only other teams in the league that can afford such a whopping payday are big-market contenders San Diego is competing with. Imagine letting him walk and seeing him end up with the Dodgers, Giants, Mets, or Yankees.
The Padres may not have this superteam together for very long, but that doesn't mean that fans should throw in the towel and assume that Soto is gone. If the team has enough success in the next two seasons and is willing to meet his steep asking price, Soto might stick around.