San Diego Padres rumors: KBO posting, new favorite in Juan Soto trade sweepstakes?

After a late-night deal here in Nashville, could the Seattle Mariners be setting up for a trade with the San Diego Padres?
San Diego Padres left fielder Juan Soto
San Diego Padres left fielder Juan Soto / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

NASHVILLE — The Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners woke up the crowd here in Music City on Sunday night with a late trade. Could that be the first step toward the Mariners making a deal with the San Diego Padres for Juan Soto?

San Diego Padres rumors: Are the Seattle Mariners in the Juan Soto trade hunt?

As I reported in my MLB rumors roundup this morning for's MLB page, once the Braves acquired Jarred Kelenic to help solve their issues in left field, that leaves the Mariners with more payroll flexibility and in need of outfielders. MLB insider Jon Heyman pieced together that that could lead the Mariners to lean toward making a deal with the Padres to land Soto.

However, Heyman later added the Mariners could pivot and look to the Tampa Bay Rays for help in the outfield with a deal for Randy Arozarena or simply boost their lineup by acquiring Isaac Paredes. Both key components of the Rays lineup are reportedly available for the right price.

With the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees already in the hunt for Soto, could Seattle become a key player in the trade war for Soto as well? It's a storyline I am watching closely here at the MLB Winter Meetings.

San Diego Padres rumors: Potential outfield target has been posted

Reports say that Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) star Jung-Hoo Lee is being posted on Monday by the Kiwoom Heroes, and the Padres are "among many interested teams" to sign him to a deal. Heyman also mentioned the Yankees as a potential landing spot as well, plus the New York Mets have often been linked to the outfielder. Some reports have indicated as many as 20 of MLB's 30 teams are interested in signing him, so the competition will be fierce for the Padres.

As wrote in this article, "Lee was the KBO’s MVP in 2022, and is a five-time winner of their Gold Glove Award for his outfield work (primarily as a center fielder). His 2023 season was prematurely ended in July due to ankle surgery, though there aren’t any known complications preventing Lee from being fully fit for the start of Spring Training."