Battle of the Big Apple: Mets and Yankees vie for Juan Soto’s signature

Juan Soto player of the San Diego Padres
Amanda Paula
Thursday November 2, 2023

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The upcoming MLB offseason is abuzz with trade rumors, and one name that has surfaced as a potential target for the New York Yankees is San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto. This 25-year-old lefty slugger has garnered the attention of multiple teams, with both the New York Yankees and the New York Mets in the mix. However, WFAN host Sal Licata believes that the Mets are in a more advantageous position to secure Soto’s services compared to their crosstown rivals, the Yankees.

Yankees in preliminary talks with Padres

The Yankees have recently engaged in a “preliminary conversation” with the Padres regarding Soto, as reported by SNY’s Andy Martino. San Diego is looking to trim $50 million off their payroll, making Soto’s availability more intriguing for potential suitors. Licata, though, contends that the Mets have the financial resources and a more promising prospect pool, making them an ideal landing spot for a player of Soto’s caliber.

The Mets’ perspective on pursuing Juan Soto

In Licata’s view, New York, with its passionate baseball fan base, should be a destination for top talents like Shohei Ohtani or Juan Soto. When a player of this caliber becomes available, it’s essential to make every effort to bring them to the city.

“The Mets are in a better position financially and prospect-wise,” Licata said, via Audacy. “There’s no reason why [Shohei] Ohtani or Soto should not be playing in New York … when a guy like that becomes available, you better do everything in your power to get him.”

The question that arises from Licata’s perspective is whether the Mets are interested in pursuing Juan Soto. As of now, there haven’t been any reports of the Mets reaching out to San Diego about a potential trade. However, there is evidence to suggest that the Mets’ prospect depth has improved, making them more appealing trade partners.

One indicator of the Mets’ rising prospects is their position in MLB Pipeline’s mid-season farm system rankings. The Mets currently sit at the 11th spot, while the Yankees are ranked 21st. This ranking shift implies that the Mets have been successful in replenishing their farm system, which is crucial for securing players of Soto’s caliber.

During the season, the Mets made significant trades to bolster their farm system. Notably, they traded star pitcher Max Scherzer to the World Series champion Texas Rangers. In exchange, the Mets agreed to pay Scherzer’s annual salary of $43.3 million for 2023 and an additional $20.8 million for the following season. This trade brought them Luisangel Acuña, who is currently MLB’s 38th ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

The Mets also struck a deal to send Justin Verlander back to the Houston Astros, again assuming the financial commitment of $43.3 million for 2023 and $20.8 million for 2024. In return, they acquired Drew Gilbert, ranked as MLB’s 52nd prospect, and Ryan Clifford, the Mets’ sixth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

With prospects like Acuña, Gilbert, and Clifford in their system, the Mets have attractive assets that could intrigue the Padres, who are likely looking to acquire promising young talent in exchange for Soto. Juan Soto is expected to command a substantial salary in arbitration, likely exceeding $30 million, making the financial stability of the acquiring team a critical factor in any potential trade.

While the Yankees have emerged as a potential destination for Juan Soto, WFAN host Sal Licata makes a compelling case that the New York Mets are in a more advantageous position to secure the talented outfielder. With a stronger farm system and improved financial flexibility, the Mets have the resources and prospects to entice the Padres in a potential trade for Soto, making them a strong contender in the pursuit of this coveted player during the upcoming offseason.

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