San Diego Padres rumors: A.J. Preller pushing for Juan Soto to stay through offseason?

Could Juan Soto still be a member of the San Diego Padres when spring training begins? One report says that is the hope of A.J. Preller.
San Diego Padres president of baseball operations and general manager A.J. Preller
San Diego Padres president of baseball operations and general manager A.J. Preller / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

While the rumors keep swirling around slugger Juan Soto and if he will be a part of the San Diego Padres when the 2024 season opens, a new report says A.J. Preller is "trying to persuade ownership" to make that happen.

San Diego Padres rumors: Juan Soto staying through offseason?

In his weekly column for USA Today, MLB insider Bob Nightengale writes that Preller is working to persuade Padres "ownership" to not trade Soto this offseason and instead let the reigning Silver Slugger winner in left field be a part of the San Diego lineup when the Padres take the field on March 20 in Seoul, South Korea against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Nightengale writes that Preller, "is trying to persuade ownership to keep Juan Soto until at least the trade deadline, but teams continue to inquire, believing he will be moved this winter."

We have heard ever since the offseason began about the potential of a Soto trade, with fellow MLB insider Buster Olney saying recently that there was a "100 percent" chance that Soto would be swapped this offseason. However, if the Padres do indeed trade Soto, they will need to find a way to replace his offense in the lineup after the 25-year-old phenom put up an OPS+ of 158 last season, a number that led the team by a wide margin (Xander Bogaerts came in second at 120).

Still, with the Padres reportedly looking to slice payroll this offseason to get down around $200 million, keeping Soto long-term seems to go against that motion. Can Soto stick around for his final year of arbitration while San Diego hopes he keeps producing eye-popping numbers in the first half before dealing him? And what if the Padres are in contention for a playoff spot? Would they still deal Soto then? There are plenty of questions surrounding Soto's future right now and what is indeed the best course of action for Preller and the Padres.