Latest Padres rumor could help Dodgers in Shohei Ohtani chase

Seattle Mariners v San Diego Padres
Seattle Mariners v San Diego Padres / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Earlier in the offseason, the San Diego Padres were rumored as one of the teams to eventually be in the hunt for Shohei Ohtani once the two-way star hit free agency. Trying to get in the Los Angeles Dodgers' way again, huh? Yeah, these guys are starting to get annoying.

But that was before the Pads extended Manny Machado on an 11-year, $350 million contract. It was also before the latest buzz surrounding the team out of Spring Training this week. According to MLB insider Jon Heyman, San Diego might not be done on the contract extension front.

Heyman is reporting that the Padres will try to secure both outfielder Juan Soto and closer Josh Hader to long-term deals after the Machado pact, and that they're expected to start discussions "soon."

That'll be no easy task. We're talking about one of the most prolific offensive players of his generation and arguably the best closer in the sport. It's far from a guarantee the Padres will be able to get one of these deals done when you realize how much more money can be made for either player if they have a successful campaign and can then enter free agency.

But the underlying, incessant narrative here is that the Padres are unrelenting. Even if it seems like there's no chance, they won't stop until they get their way, or a clear answer that forces them to shift their attention elsewhere.

Dodgers Rumors: Padres prematurely bowing out of Shohei Ohtani race?

Here's the latest from Heyman's piece in the New York Post:

"Next up: Deals — or at least discussions — for Juan Soto and Josh Hader, arguably the game’s top hitter and top closer. New Padre Xander Bogaerts, following the Machado signing (and his own for $280 million), told Soto, 'They’ve got to bring a bigger truck for you.'"

Jon Heyman of the New York Post

There's a bright side if the Padres add another megadeal to their payroll before the 2023 season starts, though. It'll all but officially (and very well should!) take the Padres out of the Ohtani race, which would pretty much narrow it down to the Dodgers vs. Mets. Still a challenge for LA, but better than dealing with a third team willing to act wildly aggressive on the financial side.

You'd have to guess Soto is asking for no less than $450 million since he reportedly turned down a $440 million extension from the Washington Nationals. As for Hader, he could be vying for an Edwin Diaz-esque contract after the Mets closer reset the market with a five-year, $102 million contract this offseason.

Either way, adding another market-setting (or near market-setting) contract complicates things because the Padres will also desperately need to address their starting rotation next offseason, which will be the next most costly endeavor behind a Soto or Ohtani deal. They can't make it all happen!

... we hope.