San Diego Padres: The Juan Soto question

The San Diego Padres have not shied away from locking in pieces of their core.

Six players are locked in through 2027 on long term deals, with four players signed into the next decade. Jake Cronenworth joined that group on Friday, having signed a seven year extension that Dennis Lin of The Athletic reported will be official on Saturday. Jeff Passan from ESPN reported that the deal will be worth $80 million. He will join Xander Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Manny Machado as the key parts of the Padres’ lineup.

San Diego Padres still have major piece to lock in

There is still one more piece that the Padres need to lock in for their lineup. They had sent a king’s ransom worth of prospects to the Nationals for Juan Soto, yet he has not joined in their spending spree. Although there is no real hurry as he is still under team control through next year, those days are ticking down.

Soto has not been the same player in San Diego. He has posted a .228/.379/.376 batting line in his 236 plate appearances in San Diego, hitting just six homers and eight doubles. While he is still walking more than he strikes out, Soto has not been that dynamic power hitter he was in Washington. It is a relatively small sample size, and he did show that level of production during spring training. He will eventually return to form.

That may be the hold up on any contract talks. The Padres would not have parted with that collection of prospects only to lose him after the 2024 season. At the same time, Scott Boras is not going to accept a discount based off of a couple of rough months. It is a high priced game of chicken. Both sides need to make a deal come together.

The San Diego Padres are continuing to lock in their core except for one player. Juan Soto’s status is the elephant in the locker room.

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