From a talent perspective the move is a no-brainer, but the questions become:
How much would the Cubs have to pay in prospect currency?
For the deal to be reasonable the cost must be decreased significantly from what the Padres originally paid, which was essentially two top prospects that were major league ready and two top prospects that were further away. That being said, the Padres were receiving two and a half years of control of Soto AND the ability to give him a qualifying offer if all else failed to try to earn some level of compensation if he left. The Cubs would be trading for a year of his services at a higher arbitration cost than the Padres have paid and they’d lack the ability to give him a qualifying offer.
How much would an extension cost the Cubs after the 2024 season?
If the Cubs were to offer an extension to Soto it would likely be in the club’s best interest to try to get it done prior to Shohei Ohtani signing. While Ohtani is a unicorn in that he’s a potential Hall of Famer as a pitcher and as a batter separately, players and agents don’t care about that. Soto is four years younger than Ohtani and hasn’t had the injury history that may lead to Ohtani eventually being less valuable as a pitcher. If that were the case then the argument could be made that Soto will be at least as valuable as Ohtani in a long-term deal.