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#pounditThursday, July 18, 2024

Padres worried about signing star player long-term?

Bob Melvin grinning

Oct 18, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin (3) during a press conference before game one of the NLCS of the 2022 MLB Playoffs against the Philadelphia Phillies at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres have made bold moves to bring in star players in recent years, but eventually they will have to find a way to keep them all. That may be an unrealistic proposition.

In a new Padres mailbag article, Dennis Lin of The Athletic revealed that team officials have privately expressed skepticism about keeping outfielder Juan Soto beyond 2024. Soto’s likely hefty demands, as well as agent Scott Boras’ history of taking players to free agency, reinforce that belief.

The Padres traded for Soto last season knowing they would have him for two full seasons while acknowledging the risks involved. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado are already on big contracts, and Machado, who can opt out after 2023, may need to negotiate a new deal before Soto’s contract comes due. Plus, San Diego added another major contract this offseason that may further complicate things.

Soto will just be entering his age 26 season at the end of 2024 and could command a monster contract in free agency. Unless the Padres are willing to do something crazy, that deal may well come on the open market.

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