“SD aggressively pursuing Soto extension”, When are they going to hold onto their best leadoff man?

August 17, 2023 | by

The San Diego Padres are reportedly aggressively pursuing an extension for Juan Soto.

“San Diego is aggressively pursuing a season-long contract extension for Juan Soto,” USA Today’s Bob Nightingale reported on Thursday, adding that the Padres “need to get it done before deciding whether to lock him up this winter or risk losing him in free agency after next season.

This is the first report that the Dodgers are in extension talks with Soto since acquiring him last summer.

Soto is represented by Scott Boras. Boras is notoriously reluctant to sign players to extensions when they are about to hit free agency. He is known among players as a savior because of his ability to get them off the free agent market without hesitation, sparking bidding wars between clubs and maximizing their salaries. He has a strong “devil” image with clubs.

Soto is eligible for free agency after next season, so the best time for San Diego to sign him to an extension is in the upcoming offseason, possibly early next season. Once that time passes, Soto will have no choice but to hit the free agent market. San Diego doesn’t have a lot of time, and it appears that they’ve begun to dip their toe in the water recently, with Soto’s extension “on the table.

Soto was offered a 15-year, $440 million contract by his original team, the Washington Nationals, before being traded to San Diego last year. Soto, however, rejected the offer “outright” in favor of Boras, and the deal was finalized shortly thereafter.

Soto, not San Diego, holds the hilt of the extension. While money is one thing, the team’s vision is another.

San Diego was expected to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West title this season. Their opening-day payroll of $249 million ranked third overall. They bolstered their payroll with big-name additions in free agency and the trade market. However, they struggled early in the season and are currently in fourth place in the district with a 57-63 record after 16 games. With the division title out of reach and a 5.5-game lead in the wild card standings over the third-place Miami Marlins, fall baseball is not going to be easy.

Soto has reportedly expressed his disappointment with the team’s recent performance. His critical comments came shortly after San Diego lost to the Seattle Mariners on April 10, snapping a four-game losing streak. During a team meeting, he said, according to a Nightingale reporter, “When we play like this, all we do is give up. We should be trying to survive and giving it our all, but instead we’re literally giving up,” he said.

It’s an indirect indication that Soto himself may be reluctant to sign an extension if San Diego continues to have a negative image next year. 먹튀검증

Soto struggled immediately after being traded last year, but has lived up to expectations this season. As of today, he is batting .265 with 24 home runs, 75 RBI, 68 runs scored, a .407 on-base percentage, a .501 slugging percentage, and a .908 OPS. He is tied for 13th in the NL in home runs, 11th in RBI, 14th in runs scored, 3rd in slugging percentage, and 6th in OPS. His 102 walks lead both leagues.

Soto’s price tag is hard to gauge at this point, but it’s safe to say he’s worth more than what Washington offered.

Kim Ha-seong is another player San Diego should consider extending this winter. However, there have been no reports of such a move. Since July, Kim has solidified himself as the team’s leadoff man, making his presence felt on offense as well as defense.

Kim’s four-year, $28 million contract expires next season. He has a mutual option for 2025 at $8 million per year. At this rate, there’s no reason to exercise the option. He can become a free agent at the end of next year, so San Diego should lock him up with an extension before then.

But for now, Soto is the most important issue for San Diego.


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