Olney: Juan Soto ‘100 Percent’ Likely to Be Dealt from Padres amid MLB Trade Rumors

Olney: Juan Soto ‘100 Percent’ Likely to Be Dealt from Padres amid MLB Trade Rumors
Julia StumbaughNovember 10, 2023

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 01: San Diego Padres left fielder Juan Soto (22) swings in action during a Major League Baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Chicago White Sox on October 1, 2023 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ESPN’s Buster Olney says three-time All-Star Juan Soto is “100 percent” going to be traded by the San Diego Padres this winter.

Soto is currently set to hit unrestricted free agency in 2025.

Olney said on The Michael Kay show Friday afternoon that Soto will “absolutely” be traded prior to the final year of his club-controlled contract.

The Michael Kay Show @TMKSESPN

“Absolutely, 100% he’s going to be traded before the season” – @Buster_ESPN on Juan Soto

The Michael Kay Show @TMKSESPN

ICYMI: Will Soto be traded before the season starts? @Buster_ESPN thinks so pic.twitter.com/B9uOpFIU6q

Soto is projected to make $33 million through arbitration in 2024, per MLB Trade Rumors.

The Padres have talked with Soto about his next contract but aren’t close to agreeing on an extension, according to The Athletic’s Jim Bowden.

Soto led the NL with 132 walks last season as he slashed .275/.410/.519 with 35 home runs.

The Padres had an estimated payroll of $255 million in 2023, well over the second tax threshold of $233 million. It was a steep price for an 82-80 record.

“All you have to do is look at the math,” Olney said. “If, in fact, the Padres are going to get their payroll down to $200 million, to $220, which would be a massive reduction, they’re going to have to make a move with Soto.”

Getting rid of Soto’s $33 million hit could be necessary to cut costs, especially given the weight of the all-but immovable contracts at the top of the Padres’ payroll. Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish are on the payroll for a combined total of more than $78 million in 2024.

“Those are massive contracts that just can’t be moved, so I do think Soto’s going to be moved,” Olney said. “People in other front offices absolutely believe the Padres are going to trade Soto.”

Olney added that he saw Soto as “the most logical target” for the New York Yankees, a team which has reportedly previously expressed interest in Soto.

The Padres have “made it clear” to the rest of the MLB that they will listen to offers for Soto this winter, according to Bowden.

However, Padres general manager A.J. Preller said last month the team’s “first path” with Soto would be to agree to an extension, according to MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell.

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