There has been a growing belief that the San Diego Padres will dangle outfielder Juan Soto in trade talks this winter and the Chicago Cubs are expected to be interested this winter.
With the General Manager meetings set to take place this week for Major League Baseball, there is expected to be added clarity to the Padres' plan for the off-season. The Padres are in clear cost-cutting mode this winter and that has led to speculation that the team will move Soto as he is projected to earn at least $30MM in his final year of arbitration.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today has attempted to throw water on the rumor that the Padres will be moving Soto this off-season.
"The conventional thinking among GMs is that Soto will actually have more value at the trade deadline than moving him now. "- USA Today
Nightengale may have a different definition for "conventional thinking" than everyone else as logic would not suggest that Soto would have more value at the deadline as opposed to this winter. While Soto would undoubtedly be the biggest trade chip on the market at the deadline if the Padres reach that point, the prospect value that the team would offer for two months of Soto is far less than what a team would offer for a full season of Soto.
Nightengale also speculated, through his talking with anonymous general managers, that the Padres may look to move Xander Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis Jr, and Jake Cronenworth. That would be a difficult task considering the long-term investment that the Padres have made in each of those three players.
This would appear to be a case of the Padres trying to hold onto some leverage in regard to trade talks involving Soto. However, the likelihood remains that Soto is the player who will be moved this off-season as the Padres look to cut costs.