Padres all-in on Juan Soto, aims to keep him in San Diego “for many years to come”

The San Diego Padres are betting everything on superstar Juan Soto, with CEO AJ Preller telling reporters on Tuesday that the goal is to have him around “for many years to come.”

Soto was acquired by the Washington Nationals in a successful exchange at the expiration of this season after turning down a $ 440 million 15-year contract extension.

The Dominican Republic product celebrated his 24th birthday on Tuesday and already has two All-Star appearances, three top 10 MVP finishes and a Home Run Derby crown to his name.

Last season was Soto’s worst of his career at the plate, hitting just .242 to lower his career average to .287, but he proved he still has the elite plate discipline which makes him such an anomalous at the his age.

He has now started his career with five consecutive seasons in which he has a base rate of over .400 and, despite a career worst hit rate of .452, his 27 home runs were only two fewer than the previous year in which was named Runner-up MVP.

Soto was underwhelmed in the first two rounds of this year’s postseason, but scored a couple of home runs in the Padres’ NLCS defeat to the Philadelphia Phillies as he began to rediscover his power.

Prior to the exchange, Soto was considered one of the best young players in the history of the sport and a few cold months of batting did nothing to change him as the Padres have control over him for another two seasons before he becomes eligible for free will.

Speaking to the media, Preller made it clear that a long-term extension for Soto is the organization’s priority, as he danced over their plans for out-of-contract closure pitcher Josh Hader, which they also acquired on expiration.

“They are guys who, you know, in Juan’s case should be here for many years to come,” he said. “I think we’re going to have that conversation. This is all pretty cool.

“From Juan’s point of view, he’s getting to know the city and the organization. When we made the deal, we did it knowing we got him for three pennant races.

“He’s an incredibly talented player, he’s an impactful player and we’re going to have these conversations here. This offseason is a bit like measuring his temperature, seeing where his head is to move forward.”

After sneaking into the playoffs, the Padres 89 wins have eliminated the New York Mets 101 and Los Angeles Dodgers 111 wins in a streak, and manager Bob Melvin said they will aim even higher next season.

“Much higher,” he said. “Look at the main guys we’re coming back, this is going to be a bunch as good as anyone else.”

Preller added: “This is a foretaste of what is to come.”

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