The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal believes that Juan Soto will play for another team in the 2024 Major League Baseball season. In his recent appearance on the Foul Territory podcast, the senior writer outlined two reasons that will eventually end the Dominican Republic native’s tenure with the San Diego Padres.

First, Rosenthal believes that the Padres’ payroll is going down, especially after they received a $50 million loan to address expenses, including player salaries. Likewise, it was late owner Peter Seidler’s vision to bring a World Series title to San Diego at any cost.

That goal increased San Diego’s payroll to $240 million last season. Rosenthal estimates that the new executives running the show will try to reduce their payroll to $200 million. He also believes that the people replacing Seidler are more mindful of the bottom line than the former owner.

In that context, Rosenthal believes that keeping Soto for a one-year arbitration deal doesn’t make sense, especially when he has already turned down a $440 million offer. San Diego must also delegate financial resources to Xander Bogaerts, Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, and Fernando Tatis Jr.'s contracts.

Second, Rosenthal stressed the Padres’ need to replenish their pitching rotation. Aside from National League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, other pitchers like Seth Lugo, Nick Martinez, Michael Wacha, Luis Garcia, and Josh Hader are testing free agency.

Trading Soto and using the savings from the transaction will help the Padres get quality pitching. While Soto moving elsewhere isn’t a done deal, Rosenthal is confident of his trade, as he said:

“That's the obvious choice for them. I'm not saying it's certain to happen, but the way I phrased it in my story, it's almost certain he will be traded. I strongly believe that.”

With rumors about a Juan Soto trade revolving, MLB experts believe the two New York teams, the Yankees and the Mets, are the frontrunners in landing the four-time Silver Slugger Award winner. The Cleveland Guardians could also make a move to bolster their offense beyond Jose Ramirez.

In six MLB seasons, Soto has a .284 batting average, a .421 on-base percentage, and .946 OPS. He has 768 hits, 483 RBIs, and 160 home runs while playing for the Padres and the Washington Nationals. The three-time MLB All-Star has also received votes for the National League Most Valuable Player Award four times.

-Lance Fernandez