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As of Friday, the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees were far apart on a deal for outfielder Juan Soto, according to sources briefed on the discussions. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays are one of several teams talking to the Padres about Soto, and they would be an ideal fit if they fail to land two-way superstar free-agent Shohei Ohtani. The Padres are seeking a big, multi-player return for Soto, including major-league-ready or near major-league-ready pitching. From Toronto, the Friars could seek a package including one or more pitchers from a group that includes top prospect Ricky Tiedemann, Bowden Francis and Alek Manoah. However, like other clubs, the Jays could be concerned about paying Soto $30 million-plus for 2024 and then likely losing him as a free agent.
It seems increasingly likely that the San Diego Padres will trade All-Star outfielder Juan Soto this winter, and MLB.com's Mike Petriello believes the New York Yankees are the best fit. He also lists the Blue Jays, Giants, Cubs and Mets as solid fits for the left-handed slugger. Yankee Stadium is clearly built for left-handed hitters, and last year's roster had the third-weakest lefty hitting in baseball. The Yankees are definitely looking for a middle-of-the-order hitter this offseason who can provide Aaron Judge with some protection, and Soto would be just that. New York can also afford to sign Soto to a long-term extension before he becomes a free agent after the 2024 season.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday that San Diego Padres superstar outfielder Juan Soto is "almost certain to be traded" this offseason. Rosenthal cited the team's current payroll issues and lack of pitching as reasons for a trade. The 25-year-old is entering his final year of team control and is projected to make $33 million in arbitration, per MLB Trade Rumors. Soto had a nice bounce-back offensive 2023 season, slashing .275/.410/.519 with 35 home runs, 109 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. He now owns a career .284/.421/.524 slash line over six seasons, so he would likely command a huge return should the Padres decide to trade him. Soto will remain a top fantasy option regardless of the team he plays for.
The New York Yankees are interested in trading for San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto and they have also inquired about Korean outfielder Jung-Hoo Lee, a two-way center fielder who is only 24 years old. However, Lee already has 20 teams after him despite not being posted by his Korean team yet. The Yankees like Cody Bellinger after his big bounce-back year with the Chicago Cubs, but some Yankees people are worried about his hard-hit rate. Still, Bellinger feels like the perfect fit as an excellent center fielder who bats left-handed and hit .306 after a couple years dealing with injuries in LA. The Yankees are trying to find another outfielder that can stay healthy and provide some middle-of-the-order protection for Aaron Judge in 2024 and beyond. Soto would require quite the prospect haul and would also require a massive long-term contract.
The San Diego Padres signed free-agent outfielder Cal Mitchell to a minor-league deal on Wednesday that includes an invitation to major-league spring training next year, according to sources. The former second-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates went to high school in San Diego and was also committed to the University of San Diego before he was drafted. The 24-year-old left-handed hitter made his big-league debut with Pittsburgh in 2022 and has hit just .222 (48-for-216) with five home runs, 17 RBI and three stolen bases in 71 total games the last two seasons. Mitchell played just two games with the Bucs in 2023 and will provide outfield depth for the Friars going into the 2024 season.