Soto sweepstakes: Yankees tread carefully as Padres push the envelope

Yankees look to sign Juan Soto. Soto’s contract and the Padres’ ask are potential sticking points.

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The trade talks between the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres regarding superstar hitter Juan Soto seem to be stuck in a significant impasse. As of the latest reports, both teams have exchanged names in the negotiations, but the distance between their respective offers is substantial, creating uncertainty about the deal’s viability.

Yankees, Padres hit roadblocks in Juan Soto trade talks over contract issues

Yankees' target Juan Soto during a game of the San Diego Padres

Juan Soto, recognized as one of baseball’s top hitters, has drawn interest from multiple teams, with the Yankees eyeing him as a potential solution to bolster their struggling offense. The prospect of pairing Soto with Aaron Judge in the lineup is undoubtedly appealing for the Yankees, who are in need of an offensive boost. However, the major stumbling block lies in the disparity between the offers put forth by the Yankees and the Padres, leading to a potential diversion of attention from the negotiation table.

The Yankees, hesitant to meet the Padres’ demanding terms, may temporarily shift their focus elsewhere due to the perceived exorbitant cost associated with Soto. Nevertheless, given the glaring fit and the transformative impact Soto could have on the team, there remains speculation that the trade talks could be revived in the future.

According to The New York Post, the Padres, facing the challenge of cutting payroll and replacing key pitchers who have entered free agency, are in a delicate position. The reported asking price from the Padres, believed to heavily feature pitching assets, has not resonated well with the Yankees. In response, the Yankees have made a counterproposal, but it appears to have met resistance from the Padres, further complicating the negotiations.

Among the players potentially on the trading block, the Yankees are reluctant to part with promising converted reliever Michael King and right-handed pitching prospect Drew Thorpe. However, they still possess a pool of young pitchers and prospects that could form the basis of a compelling offer. Pitchers such as Chase Hampton, Clarke Schmidt, Jhony Brito, and Randy Vasquez, as well as the inclusion of outfielder Trent Grisham, have been discussed in the talks.

As the Winter Meetings approach, where trade discussions are expected to intensify, Juan Soto’s market value will likely be a focal point. The Padres, in addition to their interest in potential trade scenarios, may also be influenced by the outcome of the free-agent pursuit of Shohei Ohtani, with losers in that bidding war potentially entering the Soto sweepstakes.

While at least nine teams, excluding the Mets, have expressed interest in Juan Soto, the financial aspect of his likely $30 million-plus salary through arbitration has limited the potential suitors. Nevertheless, big-market teams like the Red Sox, Cubs, and Phillies could be contenders, with the Dodgers and Giants considered less likely due to divisional affiliations.

What’s next?

Juan-Soto
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

One crucial factor influencing the negotiations is Soto’s contract status and the fact that he is viewed as a one-year rental. Having turned down a substantial long-term offer from his previous team, the Washington Nationals, Soto is positioned to seek a lucrative deal exceeding $500 million in the upcoming free agency.

In conclusion, the Yankees and Padres find themselves at an impasse in the Juan Soto trade talks, with a significant gap in their respective offers. While the Yankees may explore alternative options in the short term, the allure of acquiring a player of Soto’s caliber could potentially lead to a resurgence of negotiations in the future, especially as the Winter Meetings unfold.

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