The 2022 MLB trade deadline ends next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. ET, and three teams are believed to be still in the bid for Washington Nationals prodigy Juan Soto. according to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ. The three teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. St. Louis is said to offer the most talent from its MLB roster.
Soto, who is still only 23, recently turned down a $440 million 15-year extension, prompting the Nationals to consider trade offers. The $440 million guarantee would have been the richest contract in baseball history, although the average annual value of $19.3 million would only be the 20th highest of all time. Today, elite players earn more than $35 million a year.
A Soto trade could also include Patrick Corbin and his expensive contract. Corbin is owed around $70 million through 2024. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to get a fair value for Soto in terms of talent. Dissolving Corbin’s contract would be another opportunity for Washington to extract value from the trade. Here’s a look at the seven teams best positioned to capture the reigning NL MVP runners-up.
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The Seattle Mariners are said to be in for Soto, although earlier in the weekend they used several top prospects to bring Luis Castillo in, which likely put them out of contention. The New York Yankees have only been on the sidelines of the Soto chase and their recent addition of Andrew Benintendi lessens the need for another outfielder.
Players as good and as young as Soto are rarely traded, although there is a relatively recent example: Miguel Cabrera. The then-Florida Marlins traded Cabrera, then 24 and two years away from free agency, to the Detroit Tigers for a package of prospects including Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. They were considered two of baseball’s top 10-15 prospects at the time.
In what can plausibly be considered a bad season, Soto came in on Sunday at .246/.404/.479 with 20 home runs and 87 leading MLB walks against 61 strikeouts. Only 45.4 percent of the pitches thrown to Soto this season were in the strike zone. Given the lineup around him, opposing pitchers have little reason to challenge him.