Padres to open discussions with Soto, Hader on long-term deals

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres are shocking the MLB community.

Most cannot fathom how a small market team like the Padres can outspend other franchises for the services of players. The team signed Xander Bogaerts this winter to an 11-year deal for $280 million. The Padres then extended Manny Machado to an 11-year contract at $350 million. Yu Darvish also extended with the Padres for six years and $108 million this offseason.

Fernando Tatis Jr. is only three years into his 14-year deal, which he signed before the 2021 season for $340 million. Three men (Machado, Bogaerts, and Tatis) will make close to a billion dollars for just over a decade for the San Diego Padres. If you are from San Diego and over the age of 30-35, you are in complete disbelief.

For years, players like Roberto Alomar, Gary Sheffield, Adrian Gonzalez, and Anthony Rizzo slipped away from San Diego and enjoyed success in other cities. For numerous reasons, the Padres were unable to keep their talent as the roster was constantly turned over without any thought of spending money on free agents. Any thought.

Oh, times have changed. Peter Seidler and A.J. Preller are going above and beyond, and the San Diego Padres are a very relevant team.

With three men locked up for over a decade, the Padres cannot afford to get in any more long commitments, right?

Well.

Juan Soto is one of the brightest young players in the game of baseball. Josh Hader is arguably the best closer in the game. Both men were traded for in August and are approaching their free-agent season. Hader will be a free agent this winter, and Soto after the 2024 season. The Padres are interested in signing both long-term, but that may prove difficult for San Diego.

Jon Heyman reports the Padres are going to try to sign both men. It should not come as a surprise as the Padres have been rumored to be exploring keeping Soto. They will definitely have discussions with the outfielder before the season starts. But can they really pay him close to half a billion dollars (reportedly what he is seeking)? And then make an offer to Hader to retain his services?

Soto is represented by Scott Boras. The notorious agent has enjoyed doing business with the Padres in recent years and has an excellent relationship with Peter Seidler. Boras is open to discussions before free agency, which is shocking considering his track record. The agent referred to what the Padres are doing as rare and joked about the lineup to reporters. “For the Padres, they’ve moved a mountain to San Diego. And it is called Mt. Crushmore,” Boras said.

Boras may be open to talking, but only if the Padres pay his asking price. Soto could command $40-45 million a season for 10-15 years. That is a huge commitment.

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Juan Soto keeps saying that he will do what’s best for his family. Free agency and testing it may be his best option for that opportunity. The outfielder is enjoying his time in San Diego, though, and you can see the superstar is happy in the Padres clubhouse. “We’re open to talking; we’re just waiting,” Juan Soto said this week.

Hader is also receptive to staying in San Diego and indicated that if negotiations came about, he would listen. The left-handed closer would not be as expensive as Soto but could command close to a $100 million contract this winter. The Padres will certainly have a big decision to make in regard to their bullpen.

“It is a great place to be (San Diego), but at the end of the day, business is business,” Josh Hader said in Peoria this week.

Both men remain strong in their stance that their representatives will take care of business, and they will remain focused on baseball.

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