Juan Soto is one of the biggest stories of this year’s trade deadline, as the Nationals are reportedly considering trading him. Soto, 23, has already won a World Series in his career, and has developed into one of the best players in baseball over the last few years.
Nearly every team in the sport will have an interest in trading for Soto. However, there are a few destinations where he is the most likely to be traded. Here is a look at the five teams most likely to trade for Soto.
San Diego Padres
Over the last few years, the San Diego Padres have become one of the best teams in the NL West. However, last year San Diego finished just 79-83 after spending much of the season in the competition to win the division. This year, Manny Machado and an excellent pitching staff have led the team to a 52-42 record, but Fernando Tatis, Jr. hasn’t yet played and the Giants and Dodgers are once again excellent.
The Padres have the talent to make a trade for Soto, with young prospects such as C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III, and Luis Campusano. A trade package centered around those three players, and possibly MacKenzie Gore or Trent Grisham, could be enough to begin negotiations with the Nationals.
However, there are two problems the Padres have to face as they negotiate over a potential Soto trade. The first problem is that the team doesn’t want to exceed the luxury tax limit of $230 million, which they are only $2 million short of exceeding, and one of the main priorities in trade negotiations for the Nationals may be trading away Patrick Corbin or Stephen Strasburg.
As a result, the Padres would most likely have to trade away Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, or a combination of those players to avoid exceeding the luxury tax threshold. That could make their pursuit of Soto more difficult.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are currently second in the NL Central, 0.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first in the division with a 50-44 record. The Cardinals would like to improve their offense, particularly with a left-handed hitter, and Soto could be a perfect fit for the franchise.
In addition, the Cardinals have a very good minor league system and several young, established players at the MLB level. Players who could be traded to the Nationals could be Dylan Carlson, Tyler O’Neill, or Harrison Bader, along with prospects Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn. The Cardinals also most likely have the financial flexibility to add Corbin or Strasburg’s salaries to the team.
Overall, St. Louis has the depth of talent and prospects and the financial flexibility to make a trade for Soto. He could have a massive impact on the franchise, as Soto, in combination with Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, could make the Cardinals a World Series favorite.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have experience trading for star players over the last few seasons. The franchise has made trades for Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, and Max Scherzer recently, and is one of the favorites to trade for Soto.
Interestingly, one of those major trades was made with the Nationals last summer, when the Dodgers traded for both Scherzer and Turner. Washington is already familiar with the Dodgers’ best prospects, in addition to the young MLB talent already on the roster.
Negotiations between the two teams could involve Gavin Lux, Diego Cartaya, Michael Busch, and Andy Pages, along with other prospects. The Dodgers’ farm system has been affected by multiple trades over the last few years, but the organization is still in a position to make a trade for Soto this summer that could help the team to its second World Series in three seasons.
New York Mets
While the Nationals may be unlikely to trade Soto to a division rival, the most likely team to acquire Soto in the NL East would be the Mets. New York was the best team in the division in the first half of the season, but the Atlanta Braves have played well over the last few months and now trail the Mets by only 2.5 games after the All-Star break.
The Mets could offer Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio, or Mark Vientos as potential prospects in a deal for Soto. However, the biggest question surrounding negotiations between the Mets and Nationals could be over whether or not the Mets would have to make a significantly better offer due to being in the same division as Washington, and whether or not the Mets would consider Corbin or Strasburg being part of a trade.
This season the Mets are determined to return to the playoffs, and they have been one of the best teams in the National League so far this year. Trading for Soto could make them the favorites in the National League, especially once Jacob DeGrom returns from the injured list.
New York Yankees
Aaron Judge has been phenomenal for the Yankees so far this season, but he could depart the team in free agency this fall. As a result, Soto could both help the team win the World Series this season, while also improving the future outlook in the outfield if Judge does depart.
Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe are two of the best shortstop prospects in the MLB, and the Yankees could include one of them in negotiations with the Nationals. In addition players such as Jasson Dominguez and Gleyber Torres could also be part of a trade for Soto.
The Yankees are already the best team in baseball this season, and heading into the second half of the year they are in position to finish with the best record in the American League. Trading for Soto could result in the team winning their first World Series since 2009.
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