Yankees launch trade talks with Padres for superstar slugger

Yankees in trade talks to sign San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto
Amanda Paula
Wednesday October 25, 2023

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In what could potentially be a groundbreaking move, recent reports have surfaced suggesting that the New York Yankees have initiated preliminary discussions with the San Diego Padres regarding a possible trade for the young All-Star outfielder, Juan Soto. The prospect of such a deal has sent shockwaves throughout the baseball world, and here we delve into the details of this intriguing proposition.

Yankees in preliminary talks with Padres

juan-soto
Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres’ willingness to part ways with their young slugger is at the heart of the matter. It’s essential to note that the Padres are not actively shopping Soto, but they are not entirely ruling out the possibility of a move either. As one non-Padres and non-Yankees executive explained, Soto, at 25 years old and entering his final season before becoming a free agent, could be available in the “right deal.”

The New York Yankees find themselves in a position of dire need for offensive reinforcements to complement their standout player, Aaron Judge, and they are particularly interested in acquiring a left-handed power hitter. Juan Soto seems to be the ideal candidate to fulfill these needs and then some. In the 2023 season, Soto, who celebrated his 25th birthday just this week, displayed his prowess by participating in all 162 games and boasting an impressive batting line of .275/.410/.519. His 35 home runs and MLB-leading 132 walks highlighted his elite combination of power and plate discipline. Over the course of six major league seasons, Soto has maintained a highly impressive OPS+ of 157. This three-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger awardee is slated for free agency following the 2024 season, further adding to his appeal.

It’s worth revisiting the circumstances surrounding Soto’s arrival in San Diego. The Padres acquired Soto in August 2022 from the Washington Nationals as part of a significant eight-player trade that involved multiple premium prospects. Joining an already star-studded Padres roster, Soto’s first full season with the team in 2023 was marked by disappointment as they limped to an 82-80 finish, falling well short of preseason expectations. Given their struggles in 2023 and their status as the highest-payroll team outside of New York, it is expected that the Padres will look to trim salary during this offseason. The extent of these potential cuts, however, remains uncertain. As Soto enters his final year of salary arbitration, he is poised to command a substantial raise from his $23 million salary in the previous season.

A trade for Juan Soto would undoubtedly transform the fortunes of the New York Yankees and reinvigorate their passionate fan base. However, the Padres may not be willing to compromise their own aspirations for the 2024 season to such an extent. Should they decide to move Soto, the Yankees will undoubtedly face stiff competition in their quest to secure the young superstar’s services.

The Yankees, coming off a disappointing 82-80 season in 2023 that marked their first postseason absence since 2016, are acutely aware of their need to bolster their lineup. The addition of Juan Soto alongside Aaron Judge would be a solution to many of their offensive woes.

Andy Martino, an insider for SNY, reports that preliminary discussions between the Yankees and the Padres have indeed taken place. Still, as of now, these discussions have not progressed beyond the initial stage.

Soto’s age and the fact that he is entering the final year of his contract in 2024 make rival executives believe that he may indeed be available in the right trade. Padres’ general manager A.J. Preller, earlier this month, expressed the possibility of extending Soto’s contract. However, he also emphasized that the organization does not rule out any options when it comes to their operational strategy.

Historically, the Yankees have been hesitant to part with top prospects or young talent with multiple years of control, even in trades for superstar players. However, Juan Soto’s unique situation, set to earn $30 million in his final year of arbitration on a one-year deal, may limit the trade market for him. As a result, San Diego might not receive the significant haul of top prospects they would typically demand in a trade.

In light of the recent past, one might recall the trade that brought Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020. Betts was entering the final year of his contract with the Boston Red Sox, and the Dodgers secured his services in exchange for players like Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong, with the addition of David Price to provide salary relief for Boston.

This trade rumor regarding Juan Soto and the New York Yankees is just the beginning of what could potentially be a fascinating and transformative offseason in the world of Major League Baseball. Baseball fans, Yankees supporters, and Padres enthusiasts alike will be keenly watching to see how this story unfolds and whether Juan Soto will don the pinstripes in the near future.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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3 thoughts on “Yankees launch trade talks with Padres for superstar slugger

  1. The Yankees should be interested in acquiring Soto.
    They have an overloaded right handed hitting lineup. This doesn’t play well playing at Yankee Stadium with the short porch in right field. The Yanks need to add more lefthanded batters throughout the lineup going into next year.

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