The Padres need to extend Juan Soto

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Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Just over one year ago, the San Diego Padres paid an extraordinary price for Juan Soto.

In a blockbuster move, the Padres sent CJ Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, James Wood, Robert Hassell, Luke Voit, and Jarlin Susana to the Washington Nationals for Juan Soto and Josh Bell. The baseball world was shocked as the Padres cleaned house, sending two viable young players in Abrams and Gore, along with three of their best prospects.

For San Diego, the opportunity to bring Juan Soto to the Padres was something they could not pass up. At the time, Soto was a career .291 hitter who owned a .966 OPS in five major league seasons. At 23, Soto was traded in the prime of his career. The Padres needed to blow the Nationals away with their offer, and they did just that.

Though Soto’s numbers have declined with the Padres, he is still one of the best players in the game.

You cannot argue that fact.

After the 2024 season, Juan Soto is due for free agency. His representative, Scott Boras, indicates Soto will hit the open market after next season. Boras is known for being a tough negotiator and will always do what he can to bring more money to his client. According to some reports, Soto turned down a 15-year/$440 million contract from the Nationals shortly before he was dealt to the Padres last summer. That is nearly $30 million per season. Soto’s representatives figure to want more per season and will also likely ask for an opt-out in the deal towards the beginning.

So what would it cost for the Padres to extend the talented slugger?

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

A 15-year deal in the neighborhood of $460-520 million should get the deal done. Expect an option after the first three or four seasons, giving Soto the potential to reach free agency again before his age-30 season. If this were the case, the Padres would only be invested in the slugger for three or four years and around $100 million. The likelihood of a future opt-out in a new deal is very real, as Juan Soto shows no signs of slowing down in terms of production.

Can the Padres afford that?


There is no doubt.

If you disagree, you aren’t paying attention. The Padres are enjoying their best season in terms of attendance. EVER. The continued sell-outs at Petcao Park are generating income for the franchise like no other time in the 50-year-plus existence of the team. The Padres have money to invest in players, and Juan Soto is a perfect fit for the team now and in the future.

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A dynamic duo of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Soto gives the Padres the best one-two punch in Major League Baseball. The Padres need to protect that. When you factor in the price they paid for his services, the two sides must agree. Fans will not be happy if Soto is not retained.

Critics of the outfielder will point to his declining OPS and inept defense as a reason not to invest somewhere near $500 million in him.

His overall numbers have declined as his free agency nears. However, Soto is still slugging and getting on base via a walk. That is very useful in the modern game of baseball. There is no reason why Juan Soto can not produce even better than he did as a National. His best offensive years may very well be in front of him.

The defense is lacking from time to time, but the majority of his issues seem to lie in reading the ball and adequately positioning himself on throws. That is stuff that can be improved in time. It will be up to Soto to show the commitment needed to improve the glove. Juan Soto is not blessed with excellent speed but is competent on defense. Expect improvement from him, though a move to first base could be possible as he gets older. That is still years away from happening, though.

The cost will be brutal for Juan Soto to sign long-term in San Diego, but the Padres can afford it.

Teaming Juan Soto with Fernando Tatis Jr. for the next decade needs to happen.

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