The San Diego Padres had a busy Tuesday with their flurry of trade deadline moves. However, one thing is certain; they are gunning for it all. They pulled off one of the biggest trades in the history of the game when they acquired Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals.
This was the biggest trade since the Detroit Tigers traded for Miguel Cabrera from the then Florida Marlins. It’s easily arguable that Juan Soto is in the top 5 of the biggest names in all of Major League Baseball right now, and his move to the Padres was groundbreaking.
But, now that he’s with his new squad, they are pushing for a World Series berth and are looking to take over the National League West division. But, there could be some roadblocks for the Padres, who seemingly are set up to be a perennial competitor with their offense the way it is.
Soto is entering his arbitration years but is looking to garner a major contract extension. The first thing that I’m going to say about Soto and him wanting a $500 million contract… he is represented by Boras Corporation, so the Padres should be prepared to give up an arm and a leg for the superstar if they want to keep him around.
Juan Soto wants $500 million, and the Padres have to pay him.
The Padres would be the worst organization in baseball if they let Soto walk after his team control ends in 2025. But as he heads into arbitration, he’d prefer to skip the process and get a half-billion dollar contract extension now. The Padres have the resources to do it, sort of.
It may take some creativity from the Padres organization, but there is a way they will be able to pull this insane move off. Keep in mind that the team already pays Manny Machado $32 million on his long-term deal. Joe Musgrove just signed an extension with a $20 million check coming in 2023. Wil Myers also has a $20 million price tag. It’s going to get expensive.
The saving grace that the Padres have is that Fernando Tatis Jr. will only be due $7.7+ million in 2023 on his backloaded contract buying them a little bit of time to come up with a ridiculous amount of capital to keep Soto in San Diego. With Boras heading the negotiations, it’s hard not to think that Soto is going to get every penny he asks for.
The key thing is going to be creative from the Padres to skirt around the roadblocks. In 2023, the Padres are already down for $154,897,618 with 25 players under contract, according to Sportrac‘s charts. There’s room to add Soto, knowing the team will have to go cheap in other areas, but he can still get his payday.
Getting Soto’s deal done is going to take the two sides agreeing on a pay structure that could work out to be a little wonky. Either that or the Padres will be in luxury tax hell every single year for the next ten years. But, at the end of the day, the Padres would not have traded for Soto if they did not think they could do it.
Baseball does not have a salary cap, just a luxury tax. If the Padres feel they can muster up enough capital, the team will lock Soto down to a lengthy contract. After all, he’s 23 years old and has the makings of someone who will become a big league Hall of Famer.
How many 23-year-old players can that statement be said about with legit support behind it? While Soto asking for $500 million seems insane to some, expect him to get it. Boras will do what he does best and get his player paid. The Padres are not going to want to have given up five prospects and more to miss out on Soto being in San Diego long term.
To me, Soto is the first $500 million contract, and there is no doubt about it.