Juan Soto trade impasse temporary, Yankees-Padres talks to pick up this week

Yankees target Juan Soto is cooking at his home town in October 2023.
Michael Bennington
Monday December 4, 2023

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The Yankees-Padres talks over Juan Soto have hit a brief pause and it is going to be rekindled this week. The Yankees’ keen interest in the powerful outfielder has been widely known, though, until now, a definite deal has not been on the horizon. This situation may undergo a shift in the near future, as per a report by Brendan Kuty from The Athletic, suggesting that Juan Soto-trade discussions between the Padres and the Yankees could gain momentum during this week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville.

He and Yankees fans are hopeful to see San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto wearing the iconic pinstripes of the New York Yankees in the upcoming spring season notwithstanding the present stalemate.

The temporary pause

The Yankees are actively pursuing Juan Soto from the Padres, aiming to acquire a generational talent set to secure a record-breaking contract in the upcoming free agency next winter. It seems increasingly likely that Juan Soto will be traded, and the key question now revolves around which team will successfully secure his services. While the Yankees have been identified as front-runners in the race to land this superstar, initial negotiations with San Diego faced a significant hurdle due to the Padres’ substantial initial demands.


As the Winter Meetings kick off on Monday in Nashville, recent days have seen a surge in rumors surrounding the discussions between these two teams, reaching new levels of intensity.

Kuty characterized the situation as a “stalemate,” describing it as an impasse or standstill. The trade talks between the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres for the superstar left fielder Juan Soto are currently in an awkward space. However, he emphasized not to label them as finished. According to information from a league source who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely express opinions, the discussions, which had cooled down after being once heated, are expected to regain momentum as the Winter Meetings commence on Monday.

It was mentioned that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and A.J. Preller, his Padres counterpart, would re-engage in discussions over Juan Soto. These discussions might take place on the phone, in a posh suite, or at various locations such as an overpriced restaurant or bar within the maze-like Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. The focus of these discussions would be on Juan Soto, the 25-year-old lefty slugger who is anticipated to be one of the most prominent players traded during the offseason.

Yankees-Padres are certain to restart negotiations

Brendan Kuty reported that, according to a league source speaking on the condition of anonymity to express opinions freely, the Juan Soto-trade discussions between the sides, which appeared to have cooled down, are expected to regain momentum as the Winter Meetings commence on Monday.

As per Kuty’s report, the Yankees initially disagreed with the Padres’ proposed compensation, deeming it to be excessively high.

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

The source informed Kuty that the Yankees have deemed the Padres’ request, which involves various versions of an 8-for-2 swap, as excessively high. The Padres, as suggested, seem to be focusing on salary-dumping, with the acquiring team of Juan Soto expected to cover the entire projected $33 million he is set to earn next season through salary arbitration. Additionally, shedding the 27-year-old Grisham would contribute an additional projected $4.9 million. The Yankees, it appears, are among the limited number of teams capable of providing the Padres with both financial relief and high-quality starting pitching.

Padres don’t want Juan Soto to go cheaply

The high valuation of Juan Soto can be attributed to several factors. He boasts an impressive track record, having earned three All-Star selections, four Silver Slugger awards, and played a pivotal role in the Washington Nationals’ 2019 World Series triumph. Additionally, with a career batting average of .284, 160 home runs, and at the young age of 25, Juan Soto stands as a bona fide superstar.

In 2023, Juan Soto proved to be highly impactful for San Diego, recording a .275 batting average along with 35 home runs and 109 RBIs. Despite his individual success, the overall performance of the Padres as a team did not align with his impressive statistics. The front office of the team appears to be focused on recovering the substantial assets they traded for Juan Soto during the 2022 trade deadline.

Regrettably, for any team that secures Juan Soto’s signature, there’s a high likelihood that he will explore free agency after the conclusion of the 2024 season. This implies that a team could be investing in the future for a player who might only stay with the team for a single season. While the Yankees are accustomed to investing in elite talent by committing significant funds, it remains a substantial risk that carries the potential for significant setbacks.

Yankees have a real shot at Juan Soto

Yankees' target Juan Soto during a game in the World Baseball Classic

Facing financial constraints this offseason, San Diego is exploring the possibility of trading Juan Soto to alleviate payroll pressures. While the departure of the 25-year-old may not contribute to their resurgence in the National League West, his salary situation renders this potential blockbuster feasible. MLB Trade Rumors estimates that Juan Soto is expected to command around $33 million in 2024, marking his final year of arbitration.

After experiencing their most challenging season in decades, the Yankees are eager to enhance their lineup, with a particular focus on left-handed outfielders. Juan Soto emerges as an ideal match, recognized as one of the premier hitters in baseball. Acquiring him would promptly address the Yankees’ persistent quest for a starting left fielder.

In this regard, the situation appears remarkably favorable. San Diego needs pitching, and the Yankees possess an excess of pitching depth available for trade, particularly in the form of MLB-ready arms capable of strengthening San Diego’s depleted pitching staff next spring.

When it comes to engaging in trade discussions, only a select few teams boast both the necessary talent to entice the Padres and the financial flexibility to accommodate Juan Soto’s addition to their payroll. The Yankees are among this exclusive group.

Why there is disagreement

Padres star and Yankees target Juan Soto at Petco Park in 2022.
Jose Soto Pacheco

As of this weekend, the negotiations between the Padres and Yankees are not progressing positively. Reports from SNY, The Athletic, and the New York Post indicate that although the teams have initiated discussions on player names, a substantial disparity exists between the Padres’ demands for Juan Soto and what the Yankees are prepared to propose.

SNY’s Andy Martino revealed that San Diego is seeking a package that encompasses MLB starter Michael King, highly regarded pitching prospect Drew Thorpe, and potentially up to five other prospects of notable acclaim.

It comes as no surprise that San Diego is aiming for a substantial return in exchange for Juan Soto. With a perennial All-Star status and a trajectory toward the Hall of Fame, Juan Soto possesses the ability to impact team victories and draw large crowds to stadiums. Furthermore, the limited availability of elite hitters in the winter market adds to his value. According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Padres have received inquiries from nine teams, providing them with the leverage to set a higher asking price. Martino specifically mentioned the Blue Jays as contenders in this pursuit, although Toronto is concurrently focused on pursuing the two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani in free agency.

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