Juan Soto Soon to be Traded? A Look At A Few Options

Most baseball fans might recognize Jeff Passan as the league’s top insider, but nothing hits harder than a good Ken Rosenthal bomb. In an article for The Athletic on Saturday, Rosenthal detailed that Washington Nationals star Juan Soto had declined a 15-year contract extension offer for a total of $440 million. Furthermore, Rosenthal detailed that this will lead to Washington entertaining trades for the 23-year-old superstar. Soto has two more seasons of team control beyond 2022. While he is not having his best stretch in the first half of this season, Soto still leads the league in walks and has a .405 OBP along with a 160 OPS+.

Any team that trades for Soto will have to give up their entire farm system. Not only is he super young, but he is already a top-three hitter in baseball, and that might even be a slight to him. Also, a team would be expected to at least try and sign him. Squads with terrible farm systems or no money have to be ruled out. Still, could we see a surprise team try and make a push for Soto? Here are some options.

New York Mets

Yeah, everyone had to think of this one first. The Nationals wouldn’t trade him in the division though, would they? Uncle Stevie Cohen seems determined to get Soto, so eventually signing him seems inevitable. There is also a possibility that the Mets could land him without parting with Francisco Alvarez, MLB Pipeline’s second-best prospect in baseball. The Nationals have their catcher in the future in Keibert Ruiz, acquired from Los Angeles for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner at last year’s deadline.

The Mets have third baseman Brett Baty (20th on Pipeline’s list) and shortstop Ronny Mauricio (52nd) in their system. With a crowded infield already, packaging them for Soto wouldn’t be a big problem. Throw in corner infielder Mark Vientos, pitcher Matt Allan, and 2-4 more prospects, and the Mets could get it done. An extension shouldn’t be the problem for Cohen, who already has brought Scherzer and Francisco Lindor to Queens.

New York Yankees

Anytime a star is on the market, the Yankees have to be in consideration. The Yankees could use a right fielder, now that Aaron Judge is a center fielder. They traded a good chunk of the farm for Joey Gallo last year, who has been a bust for them. Also, Judge is a free agent after this season and owner Hal Steinbrenner was hesitant on signing a free agent shortstop like Carlos Correa or Corey Seager this past offseason.

However, the Yankees do have the prospects to make the deal work. Eighth overall prospect Anthony Volpe is the big name here, along with Jasson “The Martian” Dominguez. Dominguez would obviously be in a deal, alongside one of Volpe and Oswald Peraza, the latter two both potential shortstops of the future for either team. The Yankees need a shortstop, so it would be unlikely that they would depart with both. Left-hander Ken Waldichuk, catcher Austin Wells, and at least one of right-handers Luis Gil, Yoendrys Gomez, and Hayden Wesneski would have to be involved.

Los Angeles Dodgers

With the Scherzer and Turner trade acting as history between these two trades, the Dodgers cannot be ruled out. Money is not a problem for this team and neither is their farm system. They have six top-100 prospects, including RHPs Bobby Miller (26) and Ryan Pepiot (75). Outfielder Andy Pages (47), plus infielders Michael Busch (42) and Miguel Vargas (70) are also on the table. The Dodgers would also have the advantage over both New York teams in that they have young talent with considerable MLB experience. The injured Dustin May and infielder Gavin Lux are examples. If the two teams got into talks, Lux would be the player to fight over. If Max Muncy can return to form, Lux could be expendable.

Boston Red Sox

After the Mookie Betts saga, the Sox don’t feel like a team willing to give out that much dough. They could definitely still make a trade for Soto, with two top-15 prospects in Marcelo Mayer and Tristan Casas. Brayan Bello (44) and Nick Yorke (64) are also on Pipeline’s list. Acquired for Betts, Jeter Downs is an option, as are pitchers Bryan Mata and Jay Groome. Boston wouldn’t mind including first baseman Bobby Dalbec, who has struggled this season on both sides.

St. Louis Cardinals

Don’t sleep on the Cardinals here. They would have to give up outfielder Dylan Carlson as the headliner no matter what. But Soto is two days younger than him and much better. MLB’s seventh overall prospect, Jordan Walker, would also be in the trade. Walker is blocked by Nolan Arenado at the major league level already. Left-hander Matthew Liberatore and shortstop Maysn Winn are obvious inclusions. The trick for St. Louis would be keeping second baseman Nolan Gorman and pitchers Johan Oviedo, Andre Pallante, and Genesis Cabrera.

Cleveland Guardians

Here’s a wacky one to end things off. The Guardians always trade their stars when free agency nears. They were finally able to keep one, extending Jose Ramirez before the season started. If they couldn’t extend Soto, they would still have him for three playoff runs before he’s a free agent. MLB Pipeline has eight Guardians on their top-100 list, with RHP Daniel Espino topping them at number 11. Four of the eight are infielders, so Cleveland could trade two and be fine. RHP Gavin Williams and OF George Valera would also be in a trade. The Nats may try to pry all-star second baseman Andres Gimenez out. Triston McKenzie is also an option to be dealt.

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