The Padres have signaled a willingness to hear trade offers on Juan Soto, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Heyman writes that San Diego is also open to overtures on Blake Snell and Josh Hader, though he reiterates the Friars’ preference would be to add to the roster before next Tuesday’s deadline.
For myriad reasons, it seems very unlikely the Padres would move Soto in the coming days. They’re only a year removed from acquiring him and Josh Bell in perhaps the biggest deadline blockbuster ever, sending CJ Abrams, MacKenzie Gore and top prospects James Wood and Robert Hassell III as part of the package to Washington. Pivoting to deal him away within a year would represent a major change in direction for a franchise that has rapidly escalated payroll and seemed hellbent on collecting as many stars as possible.
San Diego chairman Peter Seidler went on record at the start of July to say the organization wasn’t “going to reverse course” from that aggressiveness. Obviously, the Friars haven’t pulled out of their middling performance in the few weeks since then, but a Soto trade would run directly contrary to that message.
Indeed, Jeff Passan of ESPN wrote just two days ago that the Padres had been rebuffing offers on Hader and Snell. Moving Soto — who is eligible for arbitration for a season beyond this one — would require a significant change of heart. There’s been a little more chatter of late about the possibility of Hader and Snell coming available (USA Today’s Bob Nightengale also suggested as much this morning), but they’re more logical trade candidates than Soto since they’re both headed to free agency after this season.
San Diego, owner of a 49-54 record, faces a double-digit game deficit in the NL West. They’re 6.5 out of a Wild Card spot with four teams to surpass. Their place in the standings makes a run at the postseason this year unlikely, though certainly not impossible. It’s hard to envision this club kicking off any kind of longer-term retool and a Soto trade would obviously deal a huge hit to their 2024 lineup.
While Soto got off to a slow start to the season by his own huge standards, he’s looked like himself over the past few months. He owns a .286/.434/.548 line since the start of May and carries a .262/.417/.501 slash overall. There’d clearly be enormous interest if the Friars were to genuinely market the three-time All-Star. It seems they’re currently open to offers more so as a matter of due diligence than any kind of eagerness to deal him.
Whether to move the impending free agents or push in more chips in hopes of an excellent second half could be determined in large part by their next few games. The Padres have four more outings before the deadline: a three-game set at home against the division-leading Rangers, then the first contest of a series in Colorado.