Juan Soto Trade Rumors: Ranking the Other 29 MLB Teams for Their Chances of Landing a Nationals Star


Juan Soto Trade Rumors: Ranking the Other 29 MLB Teams for Their Chances of Landing a Nationals Star

News broke on Saturday that Nationals outfielder Juan Soto will be provided in trade talks after rejecting Washington’s recent extension offer – a 15-year pact worth $440 million. The Nationals are expected to charge a ton in exchange for Soto, and rightly so; After all, he’s a 23-year-old who’s already on a Hall of Fame track. Soto owns a career .293/.427/.540 (160 OPS+) slash line as well as 117 homers and 21 wins over substitutes in more than 2,000 big league plate appearances.

He won’t qualify for free agency until after the 2024 season, meaning a team will have him in tow for three playoff runs if he hits that deadline.

Of course, the likelihood of the Nationals agreeing to a Soto trade before the August 2 deadline is uncertain. It seems unlikely that such a blockbuster could come together anytime soon, but after all, this is baseball and stranger things have happened.

So which teams are best positioned to land Soto? Below, CBS Sports has ranked the 29 non-Nationals clubs in terms of their perceived chances of getting a deal.

Juan Soto could be on the move soon if not by the close of trading on August 2nd.


Level 1: No pay, no play

29. Athletics

28. Marlin

27. Rays

26. Pirates

25. Guardian

24. Brewer

We’re writing off these six teams because of the financial component. Even if they didn’t try to renew Soto, they would have to pay its high arbitration prices; that’s not the style of these teams. You can argue that the competing Rays, Guardians or Brewers should try to acquire Soto for the stretch run since the flags will be flying forever and they would have plenty of time to trade him in and win back interested parties at a later date. We like the idea, but this kind of maneuvering almost never happens again, and we’re skeptical that it’ll go ahead again with a deal of the expected magnitude.

Stage 2: Rebuilders R’ Us

23. Kings

22. Red

21. Diamond Markers

20. Orioles

19. Rockies

18. Tigers

While we recognize that some of these six teams appear closer to returning to the competitive ranks than others, we don’t believe any of them will pose a serious threat to earning the Nationals prize call. But it would be cooler if they did.

Where could Soto mix next?


Stage 3: Something is missing

17. Boys

16. Rangers

15. White socks

14. Angel

13. Gemini

12. Father

As fun (or frustrating) as it would be to see Soto in a lineup with the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout or Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., we’re drawing a line through this group because we think they are either come up short on the financial or the potential component. Of all the stages so far, this is the first where we feel a team could make a real game from here – in other words, we’re getting warmer.

Stage 4: Rivals, not friends

11. Brave


9. Mets

One question the Nationals will be asked is whether they’re willing to trade Soto within the division. If that’s the case, these teams should be promoted to the major leagues, with the Mets in particular standing out as one of the best potential landing spots for him; If not – and let’s face it, teams generally don’t want to trade their homegrown Superstar for a rival they see consistently throughout the season both at home and on the road – then that sets the ceiling for this group. Regardless of the answer is that the Mets (and Steve Cohen’s fat wallet in particular) will likely serve as a useful bogeyman for Soto and his agency whenever he signs a new contract.

Would the Nationals move Soto within the division? If so, these two could be teammates in the future.


Tier 5: Competitors in the big market, but…

8. Astros

7. Blue Jay

6. Red Socks

Soto would make sense for any of these three teams – all competitive and based in major media markets – but we wonder if their front offices would be willing to commit to the contract terms he demands. The Astros and Red Sox are both generally run by former Rays managers who have either traded or bid farewell to Mookie Betts, George Springer and Carlos Correa in recent seasons rather than dishing out massive extensions. (You can argue Soto is on another level, but these players aren’t exactly chopped liver.) The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are run by former Guardians executives who have recently shown a willingness to hand down big deals, but presumably so have eyes on adding to their own collection of young stars, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. Would they have enough money to do both, or the department to go with Soto? We’re open to the possibility, but unsure.

Rank 6: The top 5

5. Sailors

The Mariners make sense on paper. They have a good farming system. They have few long-term commitments. They have a hyperactive general manager who has every reason to go full throttle to end the sport’s longest playoff drought. Would Jerry Dipoto feel comfortable parting ways with some of his best prospects, possibly led by a combination of shortstop Noelvi Marte and pitchers George Kirby and Matt Brash? We don’t know, but he owes it to himself to think about it.

4. Giants

The Giants have penned Dark Horse chases for the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper in the past. Top executive Farhan Zaidi also knows all about star-hunting from his days as a member of the Dodgers’ front office. The Giants have few meaningful long-term commitments, and Soto would serve as the face of the franchise as the spiritual successor to Buster Posey. The catch is that Zaidi doesn’t have the kind of prospective war chest that some of his rivals do, meaning he might have to take back a bad deal like Patrick Corbin’s to make up for it.

3. Yankees

We are required by law to place the Yankees at the top of these lists because of their financial power and their history of taking advantage of such situations. Brian Cashman has even stuck with prospects like Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza in recent years, giving him some legitimate youngsters to quibble over. The interesting crease with the Yankees is that they have yet to resolve the Aaron Judge situation. The only way to placate the Yankees fan base about letting Judge go after this season is if they have Soto either in hand or on the go — and hey, there are plenty of legitimate baseball reasons to prefer a long-term commitment him about Judge, including age, track record and injury history.

2. Dodgers

As with the Yankees, the Dodgers are always at the top of these lists. Andrew Friedman has a history of showing he’s willing to champion elite players and Soto fits in that regard. Depending on how the Nationals rate some of the Dodgers’ top youngsters — Bobby Miller, Diego Cartaya, Andy Pages, et cetera — Los Angeles would probably have to follow the plan we laid out in the Giants section by taking a bad one Contract in addition to Soto. They did something similar when they bought Boston’s Mookie Betts, so that shouldn’t be a big deal for Friedman and company.

1. Cardinals

This will almost certainly age badly, but yes, we believe the Cardinals have the clearest path to taking over Soto of any team. They’ve bested Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado in recent seasons, beating Francisco Lindor among others to show they have the appetite and willingness to make a blockbuster supplement. The Cardinals also have the opportunity to offer a package that includes a combination of Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn, Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill, among others. Also, Goldschmidt’s contract will be off the books after the 2024 season … or just when Soto’s extension would cover his free-agent years. It’s possible Soto would rather play on a coast, but Mike Rizzo should make one of his first calls about Soto to the Cardinals.

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