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Jeff Passan Believes Trading Juan Soto Is The Only Logical Solution The Padres Have For Their Payroll Problem

Denis Poroy. Getty Images.

At some point the MLB hot stove will heat up and things will actually happen. Until then we have hypothetical trades and signings to discuss. We know the headliners who will be available just for money —Shohei Ohtani, Cody Bellinger, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, Josh Hader, Matt Chapman. As for trades? We have a pretty good idea Tyler Glasnow will be switching teams. The entire Brewers organization is on the block. 

But what about Juan Soto? 

The 25 year old superstar outfielder is about to enter the final year of control while on a team that needed to take out a loan in September to meet payroll. They're losing 60% of their starting rotation to free agency and with tons of money tied up to their lineup, Soto allows them a way to further free up money and restructure the team a little. ESPN's Jeff Passan believes trading him is their only logical solution to fixing their issues. 

(ESPN) There is a reason the entire industry believes the San Diego Padres will trade Soto, their star 25-year-old outfielder this winter, and it is rooted in the belief that the Padres need to trim their payroll from $253 million last year to $200 million this season. The team has not acknowledged this publicly, but taking out a $50 million loan to cover payroll in September did little to discourage the idea.

The only logical end point to all this is moving Soto, who's expected to make around $33 million in his final year of arbitration. Now, logic doesn't always prevail. And it would be an awful look for the team to give up a prospect of James Wood's caliber -- not to mention C.J. Abrams, Mackenzie Gore, Robert Hassell and Jarlin Susana -- only to turn around after a season and a half and punt. But it's a sound enough perspective for the Padres to have internally discussed their options if they do move Soto, sources told ESPN.

So let's breakdown everything that would go into acquiring Juan Soto this offseason. 

Positives: 

-You'd be getting one of the best hitters in the sport who is also a proven postseason machine with a World Series title already on his mantel. In six seasons he's posted a slash of .284/.421/.524 with an OPS+ of 157 with a career .946 OPS. If there was any misconception Juan Soto isn't still an unbelievable hitter you need to get rid of that logic right now. Considering his talent and age he's just about as must have of a hitter in your lineup as it gets. 

-A trade package surrounding Juan Soto won't cost you what you think it will considering he's a one year rental. If the Padres are trading Juan Soto their endgame is to shed payroll. It's entirely possible they go the Mookie Betts rout and try to attach a bad contract along with him. By doing that, it would significantly lessen the prospect haul you'd have to send their way, but if money is the goal that's the way to go. Reminder the Red Sox only got Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong in return for a generational talent in Betts. That's because they were insistent on dumping David Price's money on the Dodgers. The ol' John Henry special. If money isn't an issue for your team then this opportunity is as good as it gets. 

Negatives: 

-Juan Soto is one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game. He will almost definitely become a full time DH sooner rather than later. While his bat definitely outweighs his defensive issues, he will likely lead to clogging up the DH spot full time for a large portion of his career. 

-Clearly adding Juan Soto to your team isn't the one stop solve all answer to your problems (see what just happened with the Padres)

-There is no guarantee Soto remains with your team after this upcoming season, so there's chance whatever you give up for him is for just one year's worth of value. Scott Boras is his agent and he'll hold a gun to Soto's head to make sure he actually reaches free agency. In the summer of 2022 Soto turned down a 15 year $415M offer from the Nats. You're going to need to pay a fuck ton and sweat that he re-signs. 

All things considered, if the Padres truly open up for business and take serious requests for Juan Soto's services, a contending team should absolutely be in on him. It's not often a player of his caliber and age becomes available like this. No surprise I'm saying this, but a team like the Yankees should be all-in on him. 

The only problem? This brainless idiot. 

Newsday LLC. Getty Images.

I have no faith and/or trust that this loser figures out how necessary Juan Soto's addition to this abysmal lineup is. If it was up to Cashman he'd run back the same team that he assembled for 2023 because of the enormous ego he's built up over the years. Maybe he'd add Joey Votto on a 5 year deal to play the outfield. That's about it though. 

It's beating a dead horse at this point but the Yankees had the second fewest hits in the whole league last year. If not for the Oakland A's, who actively try to lose as many games as they can, the Yankees would be dead last in that department. They were sixth lowest in runs per game. Giancarlo Stanton can barely stand anymore. DJ isn't getting any younger. Rizzo was concussed all year and the team didn't know it. Jasson Dominguez is out with Tommy John surgery and the rest of the youth are a bunch of unproven bats who you hope figure it out. Gleyber is coming off an incredible season, but he's got one year left before he enters free agency. They desperately need a bat like Soto's to pair with Judge. 

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Another reason Cashman should be all over Soto? He's a lefty! I don't know why Cashman became allergic to elite left handed hitting but it's time to reverse all that. There's a fucking short porch in right field for a reason. The 2009 time was flooded with guys who could slug from the left side. The late 90s dynasty had balance top to bottom. Why did we go away from that formula? Cashman is the answer obviously. 

Juan Soto presents Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, and the rest of that incompetent front office with a rare do-over opportunity. Bryce Harper and Corey Seager were inexplicably passed on for reasons I'll never understand. Both would be perfect fixtures in the lineup today who would be helping the offense big time. Well here's Juan Soto. If San Diego decides dealing him is the direction they're moving in then there's no other option for the Yankees than to trade for him. They have the young MLB ready pitching to tickle the Padres' fancy, they have the money to pay, and they have the desperation necessary to get such a deal done. It could easily backfire. As I've learned with Cole, there is never a simple fix to change the course of a franchise, but adding Juan Soto is a move every fan would get behind. Go get him. 

Really sad update to all of this is that the owner of the Padres passed away just now. Seemed like he was really well liked among the fanbase