According to MLB insider Bob Nightingale, the Juan Soto trade sweepstakes has been reduced to a ‘final four‘. Let’s take a look at the case for each team and try to figure out which one makes the most sense.
Top Four Juan Soto Trade Destinations
San Diego Padres
The Padres have always made a ton of sense. The general consensus is that they are the favorite in this race. They certainly have the young talent to get it done. Also, they appear to be in ‘win-now mode’. They are certainly in that sweet spot with veterans like Manny Machado still playing well, and young stars emerging like Fernando Tatis Jr.
Another thing to consider is whether or not a potential suitor would be looking to keep Soto long-term. The asking price is pretty steep if you only plan to rent him for the next two and a half seasons. Any team looking at adding Soto should be considering the massive financial commitment that it will take to keep him long term.
The Padres have proven willing to spend big for their stars, with the Machado and Tatis contracts being prime examples. However, San Diego is a smaller market club. This begs the question: Can they afford a third mega-deal?
The Mariners appear to be right on the cusp of ‘serious contender’ status. Adding Soto could give them the boost their offense needs to push them over the top. This would be a huge get for a franchise that has struggled to acquire and keep superstar talent.
That is also the biggest hurdle for the Mariners. Superstars have not historically been willing to go to Seattle long-term. By trading for Soto, the Mariners would have to be willing to accept that it might be a rental situation. You can really only justify that if you feel like the move practically guarantees you a ring. Adding Soto sure helps, but probably not that much.
St. Louis Cardinals
On paper, this makes too much sense. St. Louis is very clearly in ‘win-now mode’ with all of their aging stars. They also have a wealth of young talent to offer in a trade. Finally, the Cardinals could use another bat to put the offense over the top. That is probably their biggest need outside of pitching.
Ironically, the young talent factor is probably what could keep this deal from happening. The Cardinals are built on having a constant supply of good young ball players. They are not a franchise that likes to gut their farm system for one guy.
Also, gigantic free agent contacts are not something this front office is keen on. Selling the farm for what would likely be a rental would be a huge deviation from the famed “Cardinal Way.”
Los Angeles Dodgers
Of course the Dodgers are in contention for Soto. They are contenders once again, and would not mind another big signing to help push them over the top. They also have the capital to get a deal done done. Despite being known for big acquisitions, the Dodgers have a decent pipeline. Another thing in their favor is, of course, a deep wallet. Of the four alleged trade destination finalists for Juan Soto, Los Angeles is in the best position to sign him to a long-term deal.
If there is one thing working against the Dodgers, it would be what they have to offer. While they can create a package enticing enough for the Washington Nationals to bite, they might not have the BEST package. The Dodgers do not have the same wealth of blue-chip prospects that some of these other clubs, like the Cardinals for example, can offer.
Los Angeles would have to offer young talent that is currently contributing in the big leagues. If a bidding war emerges, the Dodgers may have to consider how much depth they are willing to give up to get one dynamic player.
Which Trade Destination is Best for Juan Soto?
Best Fit: Padres
San Diego is the favorite for a reason. They have a better stable of prospects to offer than the Dodgers. They appear more willing to make a big move like this than the Cardinals. The Mariners just made a big move for Louis Castillo as of writing this. The Padres just make the most sense right now.