Could superstar outfielder Juan Soto be reuniting with his former Nationals teammate Bryce Harper in Philadelphia?
NY Post MLB Insider Jon Heyman thinks it’s certainly a possibility.
Soto, currently under contract with the Padres until the end of next season, has experienced a decline in his performance since his days as a standout hitter in Washington.
Throughout his first four seasons, Soto boasted an impressive .301 batting average and a 160 OPS+. However, since his trade to the Padres midway through last year, his numbers have dipped dramatically.
Soto’s (relative) disappointing performance with the Padres has cast doubt on his future with the club.
With a current record of 43-47, the San Diego finds themselves in fourth place in the NL West. This outcome is far from ideal for a team that heavily invested in high-dollar free agent signings and assembled a payroll nearing $250 million.
Given the Padres lackluster performance, it seems reasonable for both parties to consider parting ways. They may be hesitant to add to their inefficient spending, while Soto likely harbors aspirations of joining a true contender.
The Phillies, on the other hand, have had considerable success with their free agent acquisitions. Notable names such as Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, and Trea Turner have all proven their worth in Philadelphia.
Despite Turner’s struggles in his debut season, it is still early in his tenure with the team. The addition of Soto to this talented roster could further solidify the Phillies position as a force to be reckoned with.
Although Soto’s current production may not be at an elite level, signing him would require the Phillies to break the bank.
At just 24 years old, Soto possesses an impressive track record and has the potential to secure a contract similar to that of Mike Trout’s. Trout inked a 12-year, $426.5 million deal back in 2019.
Interestingly, the Phillies already have several former Washington Nationals players on their roster, including Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Trea Turner. Also, their hitting coach, Kevin Long, had worked closely with Soto during his time with the Nationals until last year.
The presence of familiar faces, both in the clubhouse and in the coaching staff, could potentially provide Soto with the support and guidance needed to rediscover his top form.
Should the Padres trade Soto?
Yes, their season has been extremely disappointing to say the least, but should they just play their hand this season – and then run it back with Soto next year?
If you were to trade Soto – knowing how dominant he can be when he plays to his potential – what would you be looking for in return?