San Diego, California.- The Padres intend to have Juan Soto until 2024, according to what was said by their general manager.
“Probably the most important thing, at least with (relief pitcher Josh) Hader and with Juan Soto, is that this continues,” AJ Preller said. “In the end, it wasn’t just a rental piece. They are guys who, in Juan’s case, should be here for many more years”.
Soto has two more years of arbitration eligibility, meaning he’s not scheduled to hit the free agent market until after the 2024 season.
The Padres gave up a sizable chunk of their farm system to acquire Soto in an eight-player deal at the trade deadline. So naturally, they’re interested in locking him up for the long haul.
“We will have that conversation,” Preller said. “From Juan’s point of view, he is getting to know the city and the organization. When we made the deal, we did it knowing that we would have him for three pennant races, but also understanding that he is an incredibly talented player, an impact player, and we will have those conversations. This offseason is taking the temperature, seeing where his head is going in the future.”
Soto, of course, is a generational superstar in his prime. She just turned 24 on Tuesday. Before the trade that sent him to San Diego, she turned down a $440 million extension with the Nationals.
It’s unclear what it would take to get an extension, but the Padres appear poised to at least pursue one this winter. Since his arrival, Soto has refused to comment on a possible extension. But speaking after the Padres’ Game 5 loss in Philadelphia, he expressed the pleasure of playing in San Diego.
“Since I got here, I’ve been made to feel at home: the crowd, my teammates, everyone,” Soto said. “It feels very good. I felt very comfortable here, even when things didn’t go the way I wanted at first.”
Indeed, Soto struggled upon arrival in San Diego, at least by his lofty standards. He hit .236/.388/.390 with six home runs in 52 games after the trade.
But Soto was the author of some of the biggest hits of the postseason, including key home runs in Games 4 and 5 of the NLCS, along with the game-tying single in Game 4. of the Division Series against the Dodgers and the two that influenced Game 3 of the Wild Card Series against the Mets.
“Since I got here, it’s been amazing, those fans, how loud they can be and how much fun they can be,” Soto said.
He added: “We are going to come back next year stronger and more ready to play. We have a really good and talented team. A really young team. I think we can do a lot of damage.”