Best Fit For Juan Soto as Trade Sweepstakes Narrows

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.

Washington Nationals OF Juan Soto is on the trade block
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

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?

Seattle Mariners

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.

BREAKING NEWS: Luis Castillo traded to the Seattle Mariners

The Cincinnati Reds have agreed to trade starting pitcher Luis Castillo to the
Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Luis Castillo, the former ace of the Cincinnati Reds, has been traded to the Seattle Mariners. After a down 2021 season, Castillo had been the bright spot for a very, very bad Reds team. The Reds receive Noelvi Marte, Levi Stoudt, Edwin Arroyo, Andrew Moore for Castillo.

Why Luis Castillo was traded:

Again, the Reds are very bad and there is no sense in having a Porsche without gas. The Reds have no use for Castillo. With only one more year of control, it was just time to move on from their star righty.

Now, trading Luis Castillo to the Mariners just makes sense. Seattle is making a run at the title this year and Castillo can slide in. Castillo is a number two starter with ace stuff. Now will this get them over the hump to win it all? Maybe. However, its a chance worth taking.

The rundown on Castillo:

Castillo’s three-pitch mix features a 97 MPH fastball, 88 MPH change-up, and a 87 MPH slider. This year, Castillo has a 2.86 ERA (Earned run average) and a 3.21 FIP (Fielder Independent Pitching) both better than last year. Castillo’s wxOBA (Expected Weighted On-base Average) is in the 77th percentile among pitchers.

The trade return for Luis Castillo:

Compared to prior years, Castillo’s pure ERA is the best he’s had in his MLB career. He posted his second best FIP and fourth best wxOBA. With this resurgence, Castillo upped his value and gets dealt to a contender.

In return for an ace, you expect a haul of prospects. That’s just what the Reds got. Noelvi Marte, Levi Stoudt, Edwin Arroyo, and Andrew Moore is a ludicrous trade package for a year and a half of a starting pitcher. Marte and Arroyo alone almost feels like too much. The Reds get three of the top five prospects in the Mariners farm. In the case of Marte, he is a five-tool shortstop who is projected to be in the bigs by the end of 2023.

Personally, this is not a package I would have given up for Castillo. He will only be there for a year and a half before needing to get paid. Castillo is an ace, but he isn’t one I would sell the whole farm for at this point.

Yadier Molina’s ejection is a Bad Look

It doesn’t look good when your star catcher gets ejected from a basketball game when he is supposed to be rehabbing his knee. Here’s why Yadier Molina’s ejection is a bad look.

Yaider Molina’s ejection made the wrong kind of headlines, when this happened the other day.

What led to Yadier Molina’s ejection?

While Yadier Molina is recovering from injury, he decided to go back to his native Puerto Rico to do his rehab work there. He also happens to own a professional basketball team there, and was attending one of their games. It seems like he saw something he didn’t agree with and lost his cool, and an ejection quickly followed. As a result of Yadier Molina’s ejection, he has since apologized for his behavior.

The Cardinals Are Hurting Without Their Catcher

Molina has been out with knee inflammation since the middle of June. Since then, the Cardinals have struggled to replace him. Andrew Knizner, Ivan Herrera, and Austin Romine have not been up to snuff. Offensively, they have been below average to dismal. That is a drop-off from Molina’s steady, but unspectacular batting. That drop is compounded by the fact that none of them are anywhere near the defensive x-factor that the veteran Molina is. This is coming at a time where the Cardinals have been treading water just to stay within striking distance of a sputtering Brewers club for the NL Central crown.

Not a Good Look Right Now

The optics of Yadier Molina’s ejection could not look much worse right now. Just the fact that Molina is not in one of the fifty states is likely to infuriate fans. However, legends like him are rare exceptions and can get a pass here. That pass gets a lot harder to accept when videos like the one above come out.

Also, this feels like a last hurrah for the Redbirds, with Molina, Adam Wainwright, and Albert Pujols likely hanging it up after this year. Seeing a crucial player that fans are hoping to get back doing anything other than rehabbing is going to be frustrating. The only news that fans want to hear right now is when he is coming back. They don’t want to hear about him being the Mark Cuban of the Puerto Rican NBA.

BREAKING: Owen Murphy Signs Rookie Deal with Braves

Owen Murphy excels as a two-way player - Baseball Prospect Journal
Photo Credits: Baseball Prospect Journal

Owen Murphy, Braves reach deal

The Atlanta Braves signed first round pick Owen Murphy to his rookie deal, meaning Murphy will not be attending Notre Dame. The right handed pitcher/ third baseman will join rookie camp (like all draftees) next week.

The Baseball Side of This Deal

There is still some uncertainty around whether or not Murphy will play both sides of the ball, but the talent is clearly there. In his senior year, Murphy posted a 0.12 ERA with 137 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. Murphy also hit .548 with 18 homers. Murphy also threw four no hitters, two of which were perfect games.

On the mound, Murphy is a stand-out product. As just a pitcher, he was likely to go during the competitive balance pick round. Murphy features a five pitch mix. A high velocity fastball, hitting 96 — at 18 years-old — a plus slider, a change up, and curveball that he will look to find more consistency with at the pro level. In my interview with Owen Murphy he talks about his cutter. Murphy has extremely large hands that he uses to flick the ball and create high spin rates. High spin on a cutter and fastball make it look as if the ball is rising on its way to the plate.

At the plate, Murphy was projected as a 3-4th round pick. He is a plus fielder at third, obviously with great arm. At the plate he showed that he stays in his mechanics well, as more of a pull hitter. You won’t see Murphy hit 40+ bombs, but he is extremely reliable in clutch situations and is always good for a base knock.

The Logistical Side of This Deal

The 20th pick in this year’s MLB draft is slotted at $3,407,400. I can not confirm if Murphy was above or below slot. However, in their trade with the Royals, the Braves acquired $2,202,100 in draft pool money. Baseball draft deals are unlike other sports where players can be paid more to keep them from going to college or returning for a senior year.

Albert Pujols Last Home Run Derby Didn’t Disappoint

Last night’s MLB Home Run Derby was a celebration of one the greatest hitters of the 21st century and Albert Pujols, aka ‘The Machine’ gave fans a show.

Albert Pujols at the 2022 MLB Home Run Derby
Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A Valiant Effort

Nobody thought Albert Pujols was going to make it past the first round of the Home Run Derby. Heck, even Pujols himself thought he was done when he gave away his batting gloves after putting up 13 on his turn. Also, he was going up against the NL’s home run leader in Kyle Schwarber. Things looked bleak. Then suddenly, the two wound up in a ‘swing off,’ and the rest is history.

Almost Too Perfect

After Pujols dispatched Schwarber, that looked like the end of it, since he appeared to be heading into a buzz saw in Juan Soto. Then, Soto struggled in the first 45 seconds. At this point, I think this is when folks like myself started thinking, “could he actually win this thing?” Then Soto heated up, got the bonus time, and shattered any hopes of a storybook moment. But that is okay. We didn’t need that.

It Was Still Perfect

Albert Pujols was never going to win the Home Run Derby. The Derby is a young man’s competition. Power is rewarded with a 30 second bonus, which basically means you’re screwed if you don’t get it. Despite being at a colossal disadvantage, Pujols was able to stay competitive with one of the best swings the game has ever seen.

If he were to have actually won the whole thing, it would’ve been too good to be true. It would’ve felt fake. Last night, when Soto was slow out of the gate, a friend of mine actually texted me that he thought it was rigged. Albert Pujols didn’t win, but he was respectable, and he demonstrated what made him great. That’s all most fans wanted anyhow.