MLB Rumors: Yankees interested in Juan Soto trade; Angels receive calls on Shohei Otani


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The August 2 MLB trading deadline is just 10 days away, meaning teams are trying to sort out whether they are buying, selling or holding as that date approaches. Accordingly, this is also rumor season in MLB, and we’re here to round up everything there. Now let’s move on to Saturday noise.

Deadline’s story will be national superstar outfielder Juan Soto, whether he’s been traded and if he’s where he ends up. As a reminder, the 23-year-old has reportedly turned down Washington’s 15-year, $440 million contract extension offer, meaning the Nuts are now looking to trade him. It’s possible they’ll wait until the off-season to do so, but it’s also possible that something will come together before the upcoming deadline.

Simply put, Soto is a striker of the generation and he is still exceptionally young. Soto owns a .250/.403/.494 batting line this season (160 OPS+) with 20 homers and far more walks (79) than strikeouts (54) this season. He has a career .292/.427/.540 hitter (160 OPS+), making him one of the greatest players of his age.

Needless to say, any number of teams are contending for Soto, and now you can count the AL East-leading New York Yankees among them:

Soto would fit any team, and especially the Yankees, who were struggling to get enough from corner outfielder Joey Gallo. It goes without saying that the Yankees, a team with colossal resources, can afford to take on any bad contracts that the Nationals (Patrick Corbin, to be exact) insist on postponing and offer Soto a contract extension in excess of what, like reportedly offered “Nuts”. They also have high prospects to do something. Whether the Yankees would be willing to make such a commitment remains an open question, but there is interest in a Soto trade – at least on a theoretical level.

Other teams reportedly showing interest in Soto include the Dodgers, Cardinals, Padres, Mets and more.

The Yankees are also eyeing the Benintendi

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The Royals are counting on moving Andrew Benintendi before the deadline, and since the Yankees are in need of field help, he fits in. According to Mark Feinsand, he is highly regarded in the Bronx:

Benintendi, 28, is hitting .319/.389/.402 with three home runs. It’s a good performance, especially in a bad year for offense, but he showed very little brute strength. The assumption that Benintendi will be a notable upgrade for the Yankees in the future depends on his ability to continue hitting well north of .300. Even with his swing changes, this is a risky bet as the average result is highly dependent on luck.

Benintendi is eligible to become a free agent in the upcoming offseason, so without an extension he could be on loan.

Ohtani generates interest in the trading market; Angels are not ready

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Angels superstar Shohei Otani, an American League MVP title winner, displays superb value both on the hill and on the plate. He also only occupies one spot on the roster and is paid pennies compared to his value on the field. This led to speculation that the chronically disappointing Angels would be looking to trade him for a more suitable team. Otani would obviously be a huge asset to any baseball roster, and as such, almost any team would love to add him to their ranks. However, as John Morosi reports, the Angels don’t seem ready to take such a drastic step:

For years, the Angels couldn’t fight despite having Mike Trout on the lineup, and in recent years it’s been the same with Otani and Trout. The 2022 season was no exception and Otani in particular indicated that playing for the winning team is a personal priority. However, Otani does not have free rein until the end of the 2023 season, so there is little he can control. On the one hand, this additional season of control increases Otani’s already huge trading value. On the other hand, the Angels are no doubt tempted to leave him in the hope that they can finally achieve a rift next season. If the above report is a guideline, the Angels are leaning towards the status quo until at least the offseason.

Of course, it is also worth acknowledging the obvious: this is all negotiation, and this may be posturing on the part of the Angels.

Mets add catch help

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The Mets made a small move on Saturday when they acquired backup catcher Michael Perez from the Pirates in exchange for cash considerations. Perez, who was recently named, is a .175/.244/.305 hitter during five MLB seasons with the Races and Pirates. It’s just a game of depth for the Mets, who are back with main catcher James McCann (oblique). Peres will turn 30 in August.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Perez, the Mets nominated Travis Blankenhorn for the nomination.

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