When Juan Soto came to Boston earlier this month, it seems he arrived in town with the goal of convincing someone else to leave.
Speaking to the media at Pedro Martinez’s annual foundation gala earlier this month, Soto decided to do a little recruiting for the San Diego Padres:
"“At the end of the day, he’s going to make the right choice. I hope he makes the right decision on the West Coast [and signs] with S.D.”via Boston Globe (subscription required)"
The ‘he’ in question? Xander Bogaerts.
Welcome to Opening Day 2023 at Petco Park! Please welcome Xander Bogaerts? Not likely.
Is Juan Soto trying to recruit Xander Bogaerts for the Padres?
Of course, Soto is teammates with another superstar with shortstop abilities, Fernando Tatis Jr. While Tatis can play the outfield, he’s been at short for 242 of his 266 games in the field. The Padres also have Ha-Seong Kim under club control until 2027, and he proved to be an adept shortstop (as well as second and third baseman) while Tatis missed the entire season due to a fractured wrist and PED suspension.
The Padres aren’t expected to target a shortstop, and with their many long-term contracts – including Tatis’ – and plans to attempt to extend Soto, taking on Bogaerts or any other superstar infielder doesn’t feel realistic or necessary.
But the bigger question Soto’s comments provoke is, does this mean Soto plans to stay in San Diego?
The Padres acquired Soto and Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals at this year’s deadline in what’s considered the biggest blockbuster midseason trade ever. In exchange for what can only be described as a boatload of prospects, the Padres received one of baseball’s biggest stars, still several years from free agency.
Soto will either agree to an extension to stay in San Diego, or more likely because he’s a Scott Boras client as well, he’ll test free agency and see if he can become baseball’s first $400M man.
The Red Sox can probably bring Bogaerts home for less than half of that.