With the winter meetings heating up this upcoming week, the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres will undoubtedly be exchanging more names in a prospective Juan Soto deal. Soto is clearly on the market, and the Yankees want his superstar lefty bat in their lineup, but it is easier said than done.
Padres general manager AJ Preller sent most of their top prospects in exchange for Soto less than two years ago, which is why he’s trying to get an extraordinary haul back in return despite the fact that Soto has just one year left of control.
This past season, the 25-year-old hit .275 with a .410 OBP, .519 slugging rate, including a career-high 35 homers, 109 RBIs, and a 155 wRC+. The Yankees want Soto for many reasons, but the number one catalyst behind him is that he’s played a minimum of 150 games for three consecutive years. The team is trying to get younger, and Soto not only fits that, but his durability is best in class.
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The Padres are Damending Too Much From the Yankees
The problem is that Preller wants an excessive amount of talent in return for a rental, specifically six players that include Michael King, Drew Thorpe, and others. According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees haven’t spoken to the Padres since they asked for such a deal, a clear negotiating tactic that would likely result in a different combination of players being floated.
“Update: Yankees and Padres haven’t spoken since Padres requested 6-player package including King and Thorpe for Soto and Grisham. NYY has other young starters they hope could make it work for Soto but are a no on King and/or Thorpe for now.”
If the Yankees can manage to keep King in the process, it would be a huge win. King hosted a 2.02 ERA during the final month of the season in 2023, all as a starting pitcher.
The 28-year-old pitched a career-high 104.2 innings and recorded a 2.75 ERA. He’s expected to make the transition full-time to the rotation, and he has ace-level quality, so the Bombers aren’t willing to part ways with a player of that magnitude under two more years of control, in addition to top pitching prospects.
Ideally, they could leverage Clarke Schmidt and several other players to get the deal done, but it doesn’t seem as though Thorpe is off the table, nor Chase Hampton or Will Warren.
The Yankees have arms at their disposal, but the Padres are asking for their best, and they’re simply no world where Cashman is willing to give them up. Hopefully, they find common ground, especially since the Yankees have all the leverage.
Reports did indicate that the Toronto Blue Jays have entered this sweepstakes, but they are likely just a name to create some competition instead of probable bitters for Soto.