October baseball is on the mind of those fan bases whose teams are competing for a World Series title. But for those less-than-fortunate fans whose teams are on vacation until next spring, it is time to ignite the Hot Stove League.
The offseason is home to speculating on which players could be moved in a trade. Often, the discussion centers on their value in the trade market. The San Diego Padres' biggest trade chip is Juan Soto, However, the front office is showing no sense of urgency to deal him. So, potential trade partners will have to make them “an offer that they cannot refuse.”
There has been considerable chatter on the next move with Soto. Some of the Friar Faithful argue he should be traded, while others see him as a cornerstone piece of the franchise.
The Padres management is reportedly planning to lower the team's payroll to $200 million in 2024. Thus, prioritizing which players are essential for success must be done before engaging in any potential trade discussions. Given the Padres struggles last season, unloading a bat like Soto seems counterproductive.
Despite early-season struggles, Soto has proven his worth with a respectable .275 BA, 930 OPS. 35 HRs and 109 RBI last season. His home run total was a career-high in spite of having the highest strikeout rate (18.2%) of his six-year major league career. Soto’s batting proficiency is about to pay off, as he will become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2024 season.
All offseason speculation will center on whether Soto is traded or signed to a short or long-term contract extension. Still, any potential trade must include several top prospects coming to San Diego. So, all suitors should have a deep minor league system.