Yankees reportedly holding 5 players off the table in Juan Soto talks

mlb: toronto blue jays at new york yankees, aaron judge, anthony volpe
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees and San Diego Padres are heavily engaged in potential trade talks regarding superstar lefty slugger Juan Soto.

Soto has one year left of arbitration at an expected $30 million for the 2023 season. The Padres need to offload salary after taking out a $50 million loan in September, and the easiest way is to gain MLB-ready talent and prospects in exchange for one of the best offensive players in baseball.

The Yankees need to be getting younger and more durable, both of which Soto hits on. At 25 years old and playing at least 150 games for three consecutive seasons, he undoubtedly fits the bill perfectly. This past year, Soto played 162 games, hitting .275 with a .410 OBP and .519 slugging rate, including 35 homers, 109 RBIs, an 18.2% strikeout rate, 18.6% walk rate, and 155 wRC+. He contributed 5.5 WAR, more than Aaron Judge produced this season. Having Judge and Soto at the top of the batting order would change things entirely.

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The Yankees are Throwing Names at the Board

According to Andy Martino of SNY, the Yankees have removed several players off the table, specifically Jasson Dominguez, Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, Austin Wells, and Gleyber Torres. Of course, the team doesn’t want to move on from two of their homegrown talents who are projected to become stars in the future, but Peraza should be available at the right price — he still has a lot of offensive growth to achieve.

Martino did indicate that the Yankees could leverage Michael King, Drew Thorpe, Jhony Brito, and Randy Vasquez. However, the Padres want at least one more prospect and cash in exchange for Soto and Trent Grisham.

Grisham is a new addition to the equation. At 27 years old, the lefty outfielder could plug centerfield for the foreseeable future, showcasing above-average defense. However, he’s been a below-average offensive player for two consecutive years — he’s better off as a depth piece.

Over 153 games this past season, he hit a putrid .198 and .315 OBP, including 13 home runs, 50 RBIs, and a 91 wRC+. The Yankees can’t go down the road of another disappointing offensive performer in the outfield, so it is odd to hear his name in the mix.

Nonetheless, Martino reported that talks stalled between Thursday and Friday, but the fact that names are being thrown out and negotiations are ongoing is a good sign. With winter meetings coming up next week, the Yankees can continue negotiating and finding a middle ground with Padres’ general manager, AJ Preller. Clearly, Preller wants a significant return, but there’s a line that the Yankees aren’t willing to cross, and it seems they’ve already reached it.