Batting Around: Is Juan Soto staying with the San Diego Padres long-term?

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Throughout spring training, the CBS Sports MLB pundits bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable that breaks down just about everything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts on the future of baseball, all sorts of things. Last week we made our World Baseball Classic selection. This week we’re going to talk about the future of one of the greatest players in the game.

Do you think the Padres can hold Juan Soto?

RJ Anderson: Who am I to bet against Peter Seidler? Obviously it doesn’t make sense for Soto to take a discount or anything like that. However, the Padres have shown their willingness to pay top players what they are worth and that gives them a fighting chance. I know if I had to choose between buying another yacht and hiring one of the best batsmen in baseball, I would choose Soto. Seidler seems to be the rare owner who agrees with this choice.

Matt Snyder: In a word: yes.

But I can say more. Heading into this past offseason, I thought the Padres were stretched, given the resources they were already expending on a team in one of the league’s smallest markets. They proved me wrong and I will never bet against this owner group ever again. We’ve seen General Manager AJ Preller go nuts over the years, which looks like a neat way to play the luxury tax system. Considering Soto is only 24 years old, I’m expecting something that looks excessively long (18 years?!?!). Regardless, I’m very confident it will happen.

Dayn Perry: While I love the way the Padres have invested wisely in product on the field, at a level that proves teams can compete in a small market, I think Soto is exercising his right to be a free agent , and remains unsigned in the long term. I have no doubt that Peter Seidler will make a good faith effort to keep Soto, but I only have a gut feeling that Soto will come out after the 2024 season and have the largest free agent contract in the MLB history signed.

Mike Axisa: I’m going to say no and not because I expect the Padres to go cheaper or anything. MLB needs more owners like Peter Seidler, and I expect San Diego to make a big push to keep Soto. I just think Scott Boras is determined to get Soto into free agency so he can pursue a record deal at the age of 26. Boras likes to bring his top clients to the open market (think Gerrit Cole, Bryce Harper, etc.) and push the salary scale up. Soto has already turned down 15 years and $440 million. He’s trying to beat that and I have a hard time believing he’ll pass on the free hand. The Padres will try and Soto and Boras will politely decline and test free hands in two years.

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