juan soto trade rumors
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As the Padres struggled leading up to the trade deadline, Juan Soto trade rumors swirled quite a bit. The Mets weren’t a serious suitor because of their own struggles, but the Yankees sure were connected to him. Heck, even Derek Jeter straight-up said he wanted Brian Cashman to acquire Soto from San Diego.

The Yankees did virtually nothing at the trade deadline prior to their season completely falling apart. San Diego didn’t seriously entertain trade offers because they hoped to get it together and make a postseason run. They tried making a late-season push recently, but that’s not happening, either.

With the offseason looming, the Padres have a lot to consider ahead of 2024. Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune discussed a bunch of situations. One of them was what to do with Soto. Here are three questions Acee mentioned the Padres will have to answer regarding their outfielder:

The first question is whether the Padres can afford to keep him at what will likely be around a $30 million salary in his final year of arbitration. The second question is whether they can afford to not keep one of the game’s most productive offensive performers. The third question is what they can get in trade for a player who will be a free agent after next season and will likely want upwards of a half-billion dollars on a long-term deal.

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San Diego already has committed $300-plus million to Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. Oh, and nearly $300 million to Xander Bogaerts. Can San Diego really afford another big-money contract that would likely be the most expensive of all?

An offseason that includes Juan Soto trade rumors will surely rev the engines of Yankees and Mets fans. But even if the soon-to-be 25-year-old suits up for San Diego on Opening Day, the rumors will continue to swirl up to next summer’s deadline. As long as he doesn’t sign an extension, of course.

So, for the Yankees and Mets — and any other team with sincere hopes of landing Soto long-term — the bigger question is… when do you try and make a push to acquire him? By giving up prospects this winter or the middle of next season? Or, do they just hope he hits free agency so they can throw a bunch of money at him?

We’ve seen the kind of buzz Soto can create when he’s available on the trade market. This could end up being a juicy offseason headline to follow, especially here in New York.

You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.