San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller offered his thoughts on outfielder Juan Soto, 25, who has been heavily rumored to be traded.
Preller was asked about Soto’s future during manager Mike Shields’ introductory press conference at Petco Park in San Diego, California, on Sunday (Aug. 22).
“He’s always in our plans,” he said, adding that the team will have discussions with the player and his agent, Scott Boras, about his contract in the near future.
Soto is due for his final salary adjustment this offseason. Even if it’s not an extension, he’ll still need to negotiate with the club to lock in his salary for the 2024 season.
He made $23 million last season and is expected to make close to $30 million this time around.
That’s why trade rumors continue to swirl around him. With the Padres looking to reduce their payroll total, the rumors center around trading Soto, who is one year away from free agency.
“It’s very important to have him in our lineup,” Preller said, emphasizing Soto’s value.
“At the end of the day, you’re going to hear trade offers in the offseason, but I think we have a very strong outfield right now and it’s important for us to protect that. At the same time, I understand the need for pitching reinforcements,” he added.
Earlier, Soto’s agent, Boras, downplayed the Padres’ chances of trading Soto, saying, “The Padres are planning their lineup for next season to include Soto.” 보스토토 주소
“The Padres are looking to add a left-handed hitter, not subtract one,” Boras said.
Soto is a three-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, and the league’s leading batting average in 2020.
He won the Silver Slugger last season after playing in all 162 games, batting .275 with a .410 on-base percentage, .519 slugging percentage, 35 home runs and 109 RBIs.