LOS ANGELES — Both the Yankees and Mets will consider a trade for suddenly available superstar Juan Soto, sources tell the Post. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as his availability represents a rare opportunity to acquire an all-time talent at the age of 23.
However, the initial speculation surrounding the game is that it won’t be easy for anyone to pull off a mega deal like this before the August 2nd trading close since it’s a Generation-type talent. Competing teams won’t want to give up top league talent while they’re in contention, and non-competitors won’t get value this year, only for the next two years before he’s scheduled to become a free agent.
It could be particularly tough for the Mets as the Nats probably won’t want him in their division for the next 2 1/2 years. (Josh Bell and Nelson Cruz are a different story from upcoming free agents.)
“It’s going to be like Kevin Durant,” says a top decision-maker from a rival team, alluding to the NBA greats who seem difficult trades for the Nets given the difficulty of earning equal value for a monster talent.
Early unconfirmed speculation says the Nats would request a team’s top four prospects and/or young major league players and possibly a willingness to accept Patrick Corbin’s bloated contract. With these types of players, almost anything asked should be considered fair play.
Soto could help anyone as arguably the best player in the game and with 2 1/2 years left before free agency it’s possible he could open up the field a bit. However, teams must assume that locking him in before the free hand would be difficult.
Soto turned down the Nats’ 15-year $440 million offer because it matched an average salary of $29.3 million, which was rejected because it was below some other megastars and well below the Mets’ target -Deal of $43.3 million from Max Scherzer lies. (Nats folks claim Scherzer isn’t a fair comp because it’s on a three-year deal). In any case, the early reading is that people aren’t remotely shocked that Soto would turn down this offer, even though it represents a record for total dollars.
Here’s a very early assessment of the likely hopefuls (with odds):
1. Rangers: Texas showed they’re one of the big players when they spent half a billion dollars on the double-play combination of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien this winter. Could Rangers ask for another $500m? Odds: 10-1
2. Dodgers: They’ve been with the best players in recent years and got some of them. The lineup is already considered all-time, but could you envision Soto joining Trea Turner, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman? They obviously have plenty of money and the potential capital, but will soon have to figure out a shortstop as Turner is a free agent. Odds: 12-1
3. Padres: GM AJ Preller almost signed Soto as an amateur and would certainly like to tackle him again. While hesitant to trade with Fernando Tatis, they have some top prospects. But there’s a big problem. “They don’t have the money,” said a rival manager. Of course nobody thought they had the money for Manny Machado or even Eric Hosmer before that. Give them credit for amazing efforts. Odds: 15-1.
4. Yankees: They want to keep Aaron Judge, who they love (although he wasn’t thrilled with how their own negotiations went), and under normal circumstances a Soto acquisition could make things a little awkward (although Judge is a pro who would welcome him ). . Like Judge, Soto would be a great fit at Yankee Stadium. They would have to be ready to pack a combo of Jasson Dominguez, Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza after being reluctant to trade any of them in early Deadline talks. Odds: 20-1
5. Mets: The Mets have the money, of course, but they’re reluctant to give up top contenders, they wouldn’t want to give up the big leagues while they rank first, and they’d be a very unpopular trading partner in DC Odds: 30-1.
6. Red Socks: While the Red Sox seem reluctant to sign monster free-agent deals, they have several key free agents and potentially big cash off the books (JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Nate Eovaldi are among many free agents). Odds: 40-1.
7. Giants: They previously tried for Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton (Harper ultimately chose the Phillies, and Stanton had a complete no-trade and accepted the Yankees after also rejecting the Cardinals). You have some beautiful views, but maybe not enough of them. Odds: 50-1.
8. Boys: They’ve got the revenue and probably a lot of cash left over, but they’re not in the running and seem reluctant to make it big. Odds: 100-1.
9. The field: Has anyone seen the twins sign Carlos Correa? In these cases you never know. Odds: 8-1.
10. Nats: There’s a good chance he’ll stay. He would still have tremendous value in the winter and there could be more teams in the game. Opportunities: Equal money.