Juan Soto, 25, San Diego, is one of the most gifted hitters in baseball.메이저사이트 Since making his major league debut in 2018, when he was just 20 years old, Soto has quickly become one of the game’s most dominant hitters, combining his signature leadoff hit and on-base percentage with his long bat.
Through six seasons in the big leagues, Soto has played 779 games with a .284 batting average, .421 on-base percentage, and .946 OPS. He’s one of the few hitters in the league who can be expected to hit 30 home runs, drive in 100 runs, score 100 runs, and draw 100+ walks. Add to that a relatively healthy start to his career.
It’s no surprise that Washington, Soto’s hometown team, offered him a contract extension. While the exact amount was not disclosed, local media reported that it was worth a total of $440 million over 15 years. That in itself is one of the largest contracts in Major League Baseball history.
However, Soto and his agent, Scott Boras, scoffed at the notion. While the $400+ million total may seem staggering, it’s actually only about $29.3 million when divided by the average annualized value. That’s too low, they said, given the current size of the market and future inflation. This led to Washington trading Soto to San Diego in 2022.
Soto is eligible for free agency after the 2024 season. The same question Washington was asking two years ago, San Diego is now asking. Washington realized they couldn’t keep Soto financially, so they traded him. The same is true for San Diego. If you don’t feel confident about getting Soto in free agency or signing him to an extension before then, you should put him on the trade market. His trade value increases the sooner he hits the market.
San Diego is still in a “no comment” mode on Soto’s future. There is no indication that they have actively pursued an extension. It’s also unclear if they’ll make him available for trade. Having already spent a lot of money, San Diego needs to challenge for the bigs while they still have him. If they do, they should keep Soto for next year. But if they don’t, they run the risk of letting Soto hit free agency. San Diego doesn’t have a clear path between the two yet.
Soto has shown that he is healthy with a strong second half.
Kim’s breakout season has made him an integral part of the team.
Values are still high. In fact, until the first half of the year, there were some pessimistic opinions that Soto would not be able to get his money’s worth. In fact, Soto’s OPS in the first 90 games of the year was 0.898. That’s worse than his career average. His batting average and on-base percentage dropped. But in the second half of the year, Soto returned to his old self with a .966 OPS in 72 games while smashing 20 home runs. Naturally, the bridge of the nose goes up. Soto and Boras are poised to eventually get the combined $500 million or more they’ve been asking for.
San Diego is already spending a lot of money on other players. It’s unclear if they can afford to pay Soto what he wants. Right now, even his salary for next year, the final year of his arbitration, is a concern. Soto made $23 million this year. Next year, he’s looking at more than $30 million. That’s why local media outlets still believe San Diego could trade Soto. Instead, they think they can use the money saved to invest in other players.
Kim Ha-seong (28) and Lee Jung-hoo (25) are two players who are in the spotlight here. Not from a Korean perspective, but from a local perspective. Kim, who had a breakout year this year, is also a free agent after the 2024 season. Paying Soto more than $500 million in total and retaining Kim, who has become a player worth more than $15 million per year on average, would be impossible under the current salary structure. Lee Jung-hoo is also expected to command more than $15 million per year. But if they let go of Soto, they can afford to keep both players.
Kim Ha-sung has proven himself. He is now an integral part of the team. In 152 games this season, he hit .260 with 17 home runs, 60 RBIs, 38 doubles, 84 runs scored, and a .749 OPS. He also had the added bonus of being able to play second, shortstop, and third base, keeping the main players healthy. It’s hard to imagine the San Diego infield without him now. It’s also hard to find a player on the market or in the minors who can do the same. And if you do, they’re expensive. Signing Kim to an extension might be an advantage.
Lee is a favorite among major league scouts. He’s not expected to be a superstar, but he’s still expected to do the basics with his precision hitting. He’s also young. He’ll be 26 next year. The team that signs him will be able to take advantage of his prime years. Naturally, his value increases. There’s a reason why all the teams currently linked to Lee are big clubs. This is because the market has already heated up to the point where it is impossible to sign him with any amount of money.
If San Diego gives up Soto, it opens the door for them to acquire both Kim Ha-seong and Lee Jung-hoo ⓒSporting News DB
If Soto is dealt, the Padres could receive a number of prospects in return, which would make for a promising future. One outfield spot needs to be filled immediately with power, and the young, skilled Lee could be a good option. In fact, the Dodgers have already been watching Lee at the highest levels of the organization. It is said that they have been watching Lee since the signing of Kim Ha-seong. This is one of the longest and deepest looks at Lee. It’s also worth noting that San Diego has a very favorable KBO market. They hit the jackpot by signing Kim Ha-seong. It’s a sweet memory.
It’s a dream scenario for both players to play on the same team. They are juniors and seniors in the nurture program and juniors and seniors in the national team. Given their playstyles, Kim and Lee could be table-setters. While it’s clear that San Diego is interested in signing Lee, the first question is how they will clear the traffic on their “Soto Route”.