The San Diego Padres are reportedly considering key trades involving star players, with Juan Soto and Jake Cronenworth at the center of discussions. As reported by MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the New York Yankees and the Padres are in the middle of negotiations concerning outfielder Juan Soto, although talks have temporarily stalled. Despite this, there is still a high probability they will resume shortly.
Implications of Soto's Free Agency
There is a cloud of uncertainty looming over Soto's impending free agency next year, which has been a deterrent for many teams, preventing them from engaging in trade talks. The reluctance of Soto to sign an extension has added another layer of complexity to the situation. The impact of potential trades involving Soto extends beyond the Padres and the Yankees, with teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays also having to adjust their strategies.
Cronenworth's Untradeable Contract
In addition, Dennis Lin of The Athletic has named veteran infielder Jake Cronenworth as another potential trade candidate. Despite securing All-Star selections in 2021 and 2022, Cronenworth's performance took a hit in the 2023 season, with a .229 batting average, 10 home runs, and 48 RBI. The downturn in performance, coupled with the fact that Cronenworth is set to begin a seven-year, $80 million extension in 2024, has led Jim Bowden of The Athletic to label his contract as 'untradeable.'
Padres' Financial Strategies
As per statements by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres are planning to reduce their player payroll by 20 percent, bringing it to around $200 million in 2024. The challenges in executing a trade involving Cronenworth lie in his decreased performance, the terms of his upcoming contract, and his ability to veto trades involving eight specific teams. As of now, it remains uncertain which teams might be interested in acquiring Cronenworth or what the Padres' asking price would be.