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#pounditSunday, May 19, 2024

Could 1 team already be considering Juan Soto free agent pursuit?

Juan Soto in the field

Aug 8, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres right fielder Juan Soto (22) runs to the dugout during the middle of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Juan Soto will not become a free agent until the end of the 2024 season, but that has not stopped speculation about what might happen when the time comes.

Soto is a Scott Boras client and is widely expected to test the market, and the Philadelphia Phillies are viewed as a fit by many, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long worked with Soto on the Washington Nationals, and the Phillies also have a number of ex-Nationals players on the roster, including Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner, and Bryce Harper.

Some scouts have wondered if Soto has struggled more than expected with the San Diego Padres because of the distance from his native Dominican Republic, though the Padres have downplayed such concerns.

It is far too soon to actually anticipate where Soto might land if he chooses to leave San Diego at all. Some have opined that the Padres might trade him if things go downhill for them in the next two weeks, though that seems highly unlikely.

The 24-year-old Soto is hitting .265 with 15 home runs on the season, an improvement on his 2022 numbers but still worse than his best seasons with Washington.

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