Yankees flexing financial might to force Padres to trade Juan Soto

Padres' outfielder Juan Soto is a trade target for the Yankees.

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Amid the larger focus on signing Japanese sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Yankees have their sight fixed on Juan Soto. Each of them remains within financial reach for only a select few. However, the Yankees’ financial might has the ability to absorb both.

The Yankees are playing their deep pocket tactfully to force the Padres, who reportedly have second thoughts about trading the outfielder, to agree to trade Juan Soto.

Despite a roster brimming with potential, the Padres fell short of expectations in 2023, missing the playoffs. Their financial struggles further compounded the issue, forcing them into debt to cover payroll. To rectify this and comply with MLB debt service regulations in 2024, the Californian team may need to make strategic moves to balance their budget.

Yankees trade target and Padres star Juan Soto is at Barahona, Dominican Republic.

The Padres acknowledge the immense talent in 25-year-old Juan Soto and are hesitant to part ways with him. However, speculations abound that they might consider his departure as part of a strategy to align with the $200 million payroll regulations.

Nevertheless, with only 15 players currently under contract, the San Diego Padres may find themselves compelled to entertain an offer from the New York Yankees for Juan Soto and part ways with their highest-paid player.

In considering a trade involving Juan Soto, the Padres stand to potentially save up to $33 million in the upcoming 2024 season. This move appears to be the most viable option, given that key players like Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, and Xander Bogaerts are locked into long-term contracts, necessitating continued financial commitments.

While reports from MLB indicate San Diego’s reluctance to trade Juan Soto during the winter market, the Yankees are reportedly prepared to leverage their financial resources to secure the Dominican outfielder. Anticipated to make enticing offers, the Yankees, as per Kerry Miller of Bleacher Report, might propose a package that includes starting pitcher Néstor Cortes, shortstop Trey Sweeney, and pitching prospect Drew Thorpe. This could potentially result in Juan Soto donning the pinstripes and teaming up with Aaron Judge in the Bronx.

Would this Yankees package land Padres’ Juan Soto?

Yankees rookies Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza and Cubs' star Juan Soto.

According to Brendan Kuty from The Athletics, he proposes assembling a Yankees package to attract the Padres in a potential trade for Juan Soto. The deal will see the Yankees sending Clarke Schmidt, Everson Pereira, Randy Vásquez, and Edgar Barclay to San Diego to get Juan Soto.

Despite what could be perceived as a comparatively subdued year for Juan Soto, he showcased a formidable 158 OPS+, launching 35 homers, tallying 109 RBIs, and maintaining a .275 batting average while participating in all 162 games. Notably, he led the league in walks with an impressive 132. While acknowledged as a subpar defender, the potency of his bat, especially given the inviting dimensions of Yankee Stadium‘s short porch in right field, would more than compensate.

Reports indicate that the Padres aim to trim payroll for the upcoming season, with MLB Trade Rumors estimating Juan Soto’s salary through arbitration at $33 million, marking his final season before free agency. The Yankees, with their financial resources, could absorb such a salary, although they won’t be the sole contender vying for Juan Soto in the market.

San Diego outfielder Juan Soto

Apart from saving the much-needed money, the Padres will get Schmidt, who is 27 and has recorded a 4.64 ERA across 33 games (32 starts) during his inaugural full-time stint in a big-league rotation. Ranked among the top three to top seven prospects, Pereira, aged 22, is a potential fit for left field in San Diego.

Sitting within the top 12 to top 15 prospects, Vasquez, aged 25, displayed overall stability in his debut season with a 2.87 ERA across 11 games (five starts). In the range of top 35 to top 40 prospects, Barclay, aged 25, is a left-handed pitcher known for accuracy and reliable secondary pitches. Additionally, he is eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

But the Yankees’ financial might faces a challenge from the Mets and the Giants, who are interested in Juan Soto, and have deep pockets too.

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