The New York Yankees are known for pulling out all the stops when the need arises, including trading for a superstar to augment their offensive capabilities. They’ve previously acquired the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, and now, Yankees’ legend Derek Jeter suggests that Juan Soto might be the next superstar on their radar.
Soto to Yankees: Jeter’s Speculations
At the All-Star game on Tuesday, Jeter suggested that if the San Diego Padres stumble following the All-Star break, failing to make any significant strides in the NL division, the Yankees might have an opportunity to chase Soto.
Currently, the Padres rank second to last in the NL West, trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers by 8.5 games and registering four games below .500. A major second-half revival is required to keep their playoff aspirations alive. If the Padres fail to ignite a momentum shift after the All-Star break, they may consider parting ways with some high-value players to gain fresh talent and promising prospects.
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Yankees’ Trading Potential and Soto’s Prospects
The Yankees possess a significant amount of leverage to lure Soto away from the Padres, but it will require a substantial offer. Soto has one more year of arbitration left in 2024 before becoming a free agent at 26 years old in 2025.
Soto is currently posting a .265 average with a .419 OBP, inclusive of 15 homers, 47 RBIs, a 21% walk rate, a 19.9% strikeout rate, and a 148 wRC+. Given his exceptional ability to walk more than strike out, Soto is undoubtedly one of the best hitters in the game and would make a considerable addition to the Yankees’ offense, particularly during Aaron Judge’s extended absence.
Deal Viability and Financial Considerations
It is worth noting, however, that such a deal is far from guaranteed. The Yankees would need to offer a significant portion of their top prospects to even entertain discussions with San Diego. Furthermore, alongside player trades, they would have to offer Soto a lucrative extension.
With Aaron Judge earning $40 million per year at 31 years old, it is quite conceivable that Soto, being younger, could command closer to $50 million. Having already secured Carlos Rodon to a six-year, $162 million deal, spending another $50 million per season might not fit Hal Steinbrenner’s financial strategy.
Indeed, such a bold move seems more akin to Steve Cohen of the Mets, suggesting they could wait for Soto’s free agency before extending a potentially record-setting deal.
Trade Impact on the Yankees’ Future
A potential trade for Soto would likely necessitate the inclusion of Jasson Dominguez, Oswald Peraza, and other budding prospects like Everson Pereira and Trey Sweeney. Though the Yankees would lose the majority of their promising prospects, trading potential talents for a proven performer like Soto is a consideration worth making.
Ultimately, the decision hinges on the Yankees’ willingness to invest such a significant amount in Soto for a decade. With Stanton’s contract running until 2028, some salary relief will eventually come, but it’s a long-term proposition.
The ideal scenario involves offloading some of their aging veterans, like DJ LeMahieu, as salary dumps. However, the Yankees remain committed to Aaron Judge at $40 million, Gerrit Cole at $36 million, and Rodon at $27.8 million.
General Manager Brian Cashman has locked the Yankees into several hefty contracts that will last for a significant time. However, the prospect of acquiring Soto in his prime is undoubtedly an enticing one, especially if he becomes available on the market.