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San Diego Padres’ terrible season leave team with ‘no choice’ but to trade Juan Soto

Last season the baseball community witnessed the San Diego Padres package a large collection of assets, six players in all, to trade for Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals. The Padres immediately became a popular World Series pick, but they’d lose in just five games to the Phillies in the NLCS.

This season has gone worse, with the Padres currently eight games below .500, 20 games out of first place in the NL West, and seven games away from a wild card spot. Making matters worse, the Padres never agreed to a contract extension with Soto. He has just one more year of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent in 2025.

Now, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale suggests the Padres’ rough season means San Diego has forced themselves to trade their superstar slugger this offseason.

“Several GMs are now predicting that the Padres have no choice but to trade outfielder Juan Soto after their horrific season, particularly having no TV deal and Soto seeking at least $500 million in free agency after the 2024 season.”

Bob Nightengale on Juan Soto

Somehow, Soto is still just 24 years old. The three-time All-Star’s on-base percentage has dipped a bit since being traded to the Padres, but he’s still extremely productive and would immediately become the best hitter on most teams in baseball.

As Nightengale mentioned, once he becomes a free agent, Soto is expected to sign a massive contract, which will likely top $500 million. Thanks to a rough season, the Padres’ struggles could send Soto to another new market later this offseason.

Related: See where Juan Soto’s San Diego Padres land in our MLB power rankings