Yankees seen as ‘obvious destination’ for Juan Soto by MLB insider

MLB: San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants, yankees, juan soto
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest advantages that the Yankees are gaining in the Juan Soto sweepstakes seems to be a lack of suitors. While every team in baseball would benefit from having Soto on the roster, it seems that the interest level for other teams is starting to wan. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Yankees have the pitching depth to get the Padres’ interest, but for other suitors, it looks like other teams may not be as likely to land him. Passan said that the Yankees are the “most obvious destination”, and San Diego may not have other options.

With the Yankees gearing up to try and land a generational hitter in their lineup, the signs are starting to point towards New York and San Diego reaching a deal.

The Yankees Shaping Up to Be Top Suitors For Juan Soto

MLB: San Diego Padres at New York Yankees
May 27, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Juan Soto (22) reacts after striking out against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Juan Soto is a generational talent, and after posting a 155 wRC+ and swatting 35 HRs this past season, he would certainly give the Yankees a much-needed boost in left field. The Yankees got just 0.1 fWAR and 87 wRC+ from their left fielders last season and according to FanGraphs, it isn’t expected to get much better. They’re projected for a 0.8 fWAR and .689 OPS from their left field group next season, and Juan Soto would certainly change the tide for them. The San Diego Padres are projected for the most fWAR at left field by a wide margin, as Juan Soto’s 5.9 projected fWAR anchors them.

Some of the teams that would have made sense for a Juan Soto deal include the Giants, but there’s a roadblock from the fact that they’re an in-division rival, although they want the outfielder. The Cubs are also a good match for Soto, but a report from Jesse Rogers of ESPN suggested that the Cubs weren’t that in on Soto. Teams like the Phillies could throw their hats in the ring, but not much buzz was reported by Passa. Furthermore, teams like the Red Sox and Mets have the desire for a talent like Soto, but are hesitant to push for a player with one year left of control.

The Seattle Mariners would be an obvious fit for the Padres, who have a history of big deals together, but they’d seem more likely to deal pitching for controllable hitting. It’s starting to look like the Yankees have pulled away as the favorites for Soto, and the Yankees could make a splash move that the team has sorely needed. Reports that Juan Soto will test the free agent market could have held teams from bidding as aggressively, but the Yankees are a team with a unique financial advantage over most.

MLB: New York Yankees-Aaron Judge press conference
Dec 21, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Hal Steinbrenner during a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Hal Steinbrenner did spend north of $500 million last offseason to secure the services of Aaron Judge and Carlos Rodon, and he could be in the position of handing out another half billion to Juan Soto. The Yankees need to retain Juan Soto if they were to land him, especially given his youth and the fit in pinstripes. He’d be the heir apparent to Aaron Judge as the team captain enters the later stages of his career, and the Yankees would certainly make bank with the Dominican-born outfielder in left.

Fan interest would soar, and if there’s one way to help both fans and media forget about a mediocre 2023 season, trading for Juan Soto would certainly be it.