All will soon be revealed when it comes to the San Diego Padres' upcoming offseason plans, because after a brutal extra-innings loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Petco Park on Saturday, the team's 2023 fate has (pretty much) been written.
As San Diego now pivots towards a consequential winter, one of their biggest looming questions remains unanswered: what to do with All-Star outfielder Juan Soto. But don't expect a resolution on this matter soon, says USA Today's MLB insider Bob Nightengale.
San Diego Padres rumors: Juan Soto trade suspense will carry into the winter
Soto has found his footing this season after a bumpy start in San Diego, and with one more year of team control remaining, there's no doubt the Padres would be able to fetch a sizeable return package if they do decide to trade the 24-year-old. Perhaps not as weighty as the haul they traded to Washington two summers ago, but still of tremendous value nonetheless.
On the contrary? Maybe the San Diego Padres have a run in them next season. After all, much of their roster is expected to return, aside from Blake Snell and Josh Hader.
Plus, it goes without saying that Juan Soto would be an important piece in leading a return to the postseason in 2024. And with the team's payroll expected to stay north of the luxury tax threshold, the window for this team is right now.
Another factor for the Padres to consider regarding a Juan Soto trade is the lack of quality free agent options available this winter. Aside from Shohei Ohtani, there aren't many compelling alternatives to replace outgoing talent. Without an obvious replacement waiting on the market, perhaps the Padres are better off hanging on to Soto. Or vice versa, a lack of quality free agents this winter could entice A.J. Preller and his front office staff to take advantage of desperate teams looking for significant upgrades that won't find them in free agency.
Regardless of how the San Diego Padres proceed with Juan Soto in the coming months, the outcome will be worth your attention.