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Juan Soto Trade Rumors: Ranking the other 29 MLB teams by their chances of earning a Nationals star

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News broke on Saturday that Nationals outfielder Juan Soto will be available in trade talks after he rejected Washington’s latest renewal offer, a 15-year, $440 million pact. Citizens are expected to ask for a ton in exchange for Soto, and rightly so; after all, he is 23 years old and already inducted into the Hall of Fame. Soto owns a career .293/.427/.541 (160 OPS+) as well as 118 home runs and 21 wins above substitution in nearly 2,400 major league games.

He won’t qualify for free agent status until the end of the 2024 season, meaning if the team acquires him by that deadline, they’ll have him in tow for three rounds of the playoffs.

Of course, the chances of the citizens agreeing to Soto’s trade before the August 2 deadline is anyone’s guess. It would seem unlikely that such a blockbuster could come together so quickly, but this is baseball and stranger things happen.

So what are the best teams to get Soto? Below, CBS Sports ranks 29 non-national clubs based on their perceived chances of a deal.

Juan Soto could be on his way soon, if not before the August 2 trading deadline.

USATSI

Level 1: No payment, no game

29. Athletics

28. Marlins

27. Rays

26. Pirates

25. Guardians

24. Brewers

We are writing off these six teams because of the financial component. Even if they don’t try to renew Soto, they will have to pay out his hefty arbitrage bonuses; this is not the style of these commands. You might argue that the rival Rays, Guardians, or Brewers should look into acquiring Soto for the stretch, as the flags fly forever and they’ll have plenty of time to trade him in and get prospects back later. We like the idea, but this kind of maneuvering almost never happens again and we are skeptical that it will start again with a deal of this expected magnitude.

Level 2: The Reclaimers Against Us

23. Royals

22. Red

21. Diamondbacks

20. Orioles

19. Rocky Mountains

18. Tigers

While recognizing that some of these six teams seem closer to a return to the competitive ranks than others, we don’t think any of them will pose a serious threat to meeting the Nationals’ asking price. Although it would be cooler if they did.

Where can Soto shuffle the cards next?

USATSI

Level 3: Something is missing

17. Cubs

16. Rangers

15. White Sox

14. Angels

13. Gemini

12. Padres

As fun (or disappointing) as it would be to see Soto line up with the likes of Shohei Otani and Mike Trout or Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., we’re putting a line through this group because we think they’re either behind financially. , or in the perspective component. Of all the levels so far, this is the first one where we feel like the team from here can play a real game – in other words, we’re getting warmer.

Level 4: Rivals, not friends

11. Withstand

10. Phyllis

9. Metz

The question to be asked to the citizens is whether they are willing to trade Soto within the unit. If so, these teams should be moved to the top tier and Metz in particular stands out as one of the best potential places for him to land; if not – and let’s face it, teams generally don’t want to trade their homegrown superstar for an opponent they’ll see constantly home and away all season long – then that represents a ceiling for this group. Regardless of the answer, the Mets (and Steve Cohen’s fat wallet in particular) are likely to serve as a useful bogeyman for Soto and his rep from now until he starts writing a new contract.

Will the Nationals move Soto into the division? If so, the two could become teammates in the future.

USATSI

Tier 5: Major market contenders, but…

8. Astros

7. Blue Jays

6. Red Sox

Any of those three teams would be fine with Soto — they’re all competitive and based in major media markets — but we’re wondering if their front offices are prepared to deliver on the contract terms he’ll require. Both the Astros and the Red Sox tend to be run by former Rays executives, who have either traded or said goodbye to the likes of Mookie Betts, George Springer and Carlos Correa in recent seasons instead of handing out massive expansions. (It could be argued that Soto is on another level, but those players aren’t exactly brainless.) Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are led by former Guardians executives who have shown a willingness to hand out big contracts lately but are apparently eyeing expansion. own collection of young stars, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Beau Bichette. Do they have enough money to do both, or a squad to choose Soto over them? We are open to the possibility, but not sure.

Level 6: Top 5

5. Sailors

Sailors make sense on paper. They have a good farm system. They have few long-term commitments. They have a hyperactive general manager who has every reason to push the pedal all the way to end the sport’s longest playoff drought. Will Jerry Dipoto feel comfortable parting ways with several of his best prospects, perhaps led by some combination of shortstop Noelvi Marte and pitchers George Kirby and Matt Brush? We don’t know, but he has to think about it.

4. Giants

The Giants have in the past created dark horses for the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper. Top manager Farhan Zaidi also knows all about chasing stars when he was in the Dodgers front office. The Giants have little meaningful long-term commitment, and Soto will be the spiritual successor to Buster Posey as the face of the franchise. The catch is that Zaidi doesn’t have the same “chest of perspective” as some of his competitors, which means he may have to turn down a bad contract like Patrick Corbin to make up for it.

3. Yankees

We are legally bound to put the Yankees at the top of these lists because of their financial power and their history of taking advantage of situations like this. In recent years, Brian Cashman has even held prospects like Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, giving him the opportunity to play with legitimate young players. An interesting issue with the Yankees is that they have yet to resolve the situation with Aaron Judge. The only way to appease the Yankees fanbase if they let Judge go after this season is if they have Soto either in hand or on the way — and, hey, there are plenty of legitimate baseball reasons to prefer a long-term commitment of him over a umpire, including age, track record and injury history.

2. Dodgers

As with the Yankees, the Dodgers are always at the top of those lists. Andrew Friedman has shown in the past that he’s willing to shell out for elite players, and Soto fits the bill. Depending on how the Nationals evaluate some of the Dodgers’ top young players – Bobby Miller, Diego Cartaya, Andy Page and so on – Los Angeles will likely have to follow the plan we laid out in the Giants section. accepting a bad contract in addition to Soto. They did something similar when they got Mookie Betts out of Boston, so it might not matter much to Friedman and company.

1. Cardinals

It’s almost certainly badly outdated, but yes, we think the Cardinals have the clearest path to acquiring Soto of any team. In recent seasons, they have beaten Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, as well as Francisco Lindor, among others, demonstrating that they have an appetite and a desire to make a blockbuster. The Cardinals also have the option to offer a package that includes some combination of Jordan Walker, Macin Wynn, Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neal, among others. Also, Goldschmidt’s contract will be terminated after the 2024 season…or just when Soto’s contract is extended to cover his years as a free agent. Maybe Soto would have preferred to play on the coast, but Mike Rizzo should direct one of his first phone calls about Soto to the Cardinals.


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