Bad ending? Yankees’ interest in signing Juan Soto fades

Juan Soto has been in the spotlight as one of the New York Yankees' main targets during this offseason.

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According to Andy Martino, the New York Yankees are currently experiencing a slowdown in their pursuit of superstar left fielder Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres. The trade discussions are at a standstill, with both teams seemingly in a stalemate. Despite the apparent cooling off, a league source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, suggests that these talks could reignite during the Winter Meetings, which are set to commence on Monday.

Is Juan Soto joining the Yankees?

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The Yankees, led by general manager Brian Cashman, have a keen interest in acquiring Soto, a 25-year-old left-handed slugger who showcased impressive numbers last season, including 35 home runs, a .275 batting average, and leading the National League in walks with 132. Soto’s offensive prowess has made him one of the game’s premier hitters. However, negotiations have hit a roadblock as the Padres are seeking young, MLB-ready or near-ready starting pitchers in return.

The Padres have reportedly suggested names like Clarke Schmidt and Michael King, both right-handed pitchers projected to join the Yankees’ starting rotation next season. Other pitching prospects, including Randy Vásquez, Jhony Brito, and Drew Thorpe, are also on the Padres’ radar. Additionally, the Padres have floated the idea of including center fielder Trent Grisham in the potential trade.

The major obstacle in these negotiations is the Padres’ request for what the source describes as an “8-for-2 swap,” which the Yankees find too steep. The Padres, seemingly in a salary-dump mode, expect the acquiring team to cover the entirety of Soto’s projected $33 million salary through arbitration. The Yankees, possessing financial flexibility, could provide the Padres with relief while offering high-level starting pitching. However, the Yankees are hesitant to part ways with key prospects like King or Thorpe.

External factors add complexity to the situation. The Padres may wait for free-agent superstar Shohei Ohtani to make a decision before finalizing the Soto trade. This strategic move could leverage teams pursuing Ohtani against each other, potentially benefiting the Padres in the Soto deal. San Diego’s urgent need for starting pitching, with free agents Blake Snell and Michael Wacha in the mix, adds pressure to conclude the negotiations sooner.

What is the expected outcome?

For the Yankees, alternative outfield options such as Cody Bellinger, Kevin Kiermaier, or Jung-Hoo Lee exist, but none match the allure of Soto. The pursuit of Soto may also impact the Yankees’ pursuit of star Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is a free agent.

In the grand scheme of things, it appears likely that the Padres will eventually trade Soto. The current standoff may be a typical phase in negotiations where initial demands are lofty before parties find common ground. As the Winter Meetings unfold, discussions may resume, potentially leading to a resolution in the Juan Soto trade saga.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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