Here’s the latest news and buzz on Mets and Yankees target Juan Soto…
No. 10, 11:45 p.m.
Following reports that rival general managers believe the Padres will trade Juan Soto, one MLB Insider went a step further and said a deal will “100 percent” happen before the start of the 2024 season.
ESPN’s Buster Olney was a guest on The Michael Kay Show on Friday and spoke about the Padres and Soto. When asked directly if he believes Soto will not be in San Diego come March, Olney answered confidently, “100 percent he’s going to be traded before the season.”
Olney added, “That’s one where [Padres GM] A.J. Preller and Scott Boras are coming out and say ‘no, that’s not the case.’ All you have to do is look at the math. If, in fact, the Padres are going to get their payroll down to $200 million, to $220, which would be a massive reduction, they’re going to have to make a move with Soto.”
ESPN noted in a report Friday morning that the Padres are not in compliance with MLB’s debt-service ratio and will need to shed money to prevent themselves from taking on too much debt.
Olney points to unmovable, long-term contracts with Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove among others that prevent the Padres from realistically keeping Soto.
“Those are massive contracts that just can’t be moved, so I do think Soto’s going to be moved,” Olney said. “People in other front offices absolutely believe the Padres are going to trade Soto.”
Preller said during this week’s GM Meetings that they are looking to sign Soto to a long-term deal but are open to trade talks involving the perennial All-Star. With the Winter Meetings beginning in a few weeks, it’ll be interesting to see how the Padres handle this situation.
Nov. 10, 11:37 a.m.
Padres president of baseball operations A.J. Preller said at the GM Meetings that his hope is to extend Soto, but he left open the possibility that other avenues might have to be explored.
And Alden Gonzalez of ESPN writes that the belief within the industry is that the Padres will deal Soto.
“I don’t think they have much of a choice, honestly,” one rival GM told ESPN.
As ESPN notes, “The Padres are not in compliance with Major League Baseball’s debt-service ratio, a mandate within the collective bargaining agreement that essentially prevents teams from taking on too much debt.”
Because of the above, San Diego will almost certainly have to trim payroll significantly this offseason. That, coupled with the massive long-term deals they have on the books for Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Xander Bogaerts makes it seem highly unlikely they’ll be able to extend Soto.
If the Padres determine that they can’t extend Soto but don’t trade him this offseason, they would have two choices.
The first one would be to trade him during the season, perhaps at the deadline, and likely get a smaller return than they could get now.
The second is to keep him for the entire 2024 season and lose him for nothing but draft pick compensation after the season.
Nov. 8, 11:30 p.m
As the GM Meetings continue in Scottsdale Ariz., San Diego Padres GM A.J. Preller spoke to the media about a variety of things, but the potential of Juan Soto being traded inevitably came up in conversation.
“We really like our position player group,” said Preller via MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. “Juan is obviously a tremendous offensive force, a big part of our club. I think we saw last year, as the season went on, the impact he had on our lineup.”
However, talks of a long-term contract with Soto may take a backseat to other needs this offseason. Preller said that their first order of business is looking at their pitching, which makes sense considering they declined Michael Wacha‘s option and Blake Snell is now a free agent.
But just because the Padres prefer to keep Soto doesn’t mean they’ll ignore calls for his services, something SNY’s Andy Martino has said the Yankees have inquired about already.
“We’re always a group that listens on any scenario,” Preller said. “But again, winning a championship, putting a big-time lineup [on the field] — Juan Soto is a huge factor in that. We understand that.”
Scott Boras, Soto’s agent, also spoke to reporters on Wednesday and was asked about where his client and the Padres are heading into the 2024 season.
“Met with the Padres, they laid out their plan for next year which obviously included a lineup that definitely includes Juan Soto,” he said. “He’s their one .900 OPS player. They’re looking for more left-handed bats, rather than less.”
But whether Soto and the Padres agree on a long-term deal will shape how the team views their outfielder this season, something Preller acknowledges.
“Juan long-term [versus] Juan on a one-year deal, that brings different dynamics,” Preller said. “We understand what that means for our roster both short-term and long-term.”
Oct. 25, 4:53 p.m.
SNY’s Andy Martino reports that the Yankees and Padres have had preliminary talks regarding a Juan Soto trade.
Martino goes on to say that “talks have not yet progressed beyond that initial check-in.”
However, one rival unaffiliated with both the Yankees and Padres wondered if the Yankees could include a veteran like Anthony Rizzo in a Soto deal because San Diego isn’t in a rebuild. Rizzo has a year remaining on his contact, then a club option for 2025. He has a limited no-trade clause; the teams are not known.
Sept. 27, 9:04 p.m.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan was a guest on the Baseball is Dead podcast on Wednesday where Soto and the San Diego Padres were discussed.
Soto will enter his final arbitration-eligible season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2025. Will the Padres retool their farm system by offering up Soto in a trade? According to Passan, it’s a possibility.
“You have to cash in as much as you can if you’re the Padres right now,” Passan explained. “You’re stuck with Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts into their 40s for hundreds of millions of dollars. You have Fernando Tatis Jr. for $300-plus million still. It’s three unmoveable contracts right there. You have to move Juan Soto.”
Passan added that the Padres have a lot of contracts expiring, like Blake Snell and Josh Hader, that they could theoretically keep Soto and stay under a certain salary threshold. However, the insider doesn’t see San Diego being a championship team with their starting rotation so moving Soto would benefit the organization.
The conversation moved to the Red Sox. During a back-and-forth about certain prospects, Passan brought up the team in Queens as a possible landing spot for Soto.
“I think the Mets are a scary possibility for Juan Soto and I think the Mets probably are in a better position to offer prospects to go out and get him because I think Mets ownership has shown the aptitude and desire to sign guys like Juan Soto long-term that the Red Sox have not,” he said.