Yankees’ trade negotiations heat up with Padres for Juan Soto: ‘Exchanging names on players’

MLB: San Diego Padres at Chicago White Sox
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees and San Diego Padres had preliminary conversations several weeks ago regarding a Juan Soto trade, but nothing has materialized since then. However, according to Andy Martino of SNY, the talks have progressed to a point where they’re “exchanging names on players” in a prospective deal.

Apparently, the Padres’ asking price for Soto was astronomical, which makes sense given they sold their farm system several years ago in exchange for the superstar lefty hitter. The two sides aren’t close to a deal, but the fact that names are being exchanged is certainly a good sign that the Yankees are not only aggressive but also willing to part ways with prospects and potential MLB-ready talent.

The Padres are Asking A Ton in Return

Martino reported that the Padres are looking for top prospects, for example, Jasson Dominguez and Anthony Volpe, and controllable pitching like Michael King and Clarke Schmidt. Of course, both Dominguez and Volpe are likely off the table since Soto is a one-year rental, but they may be willing to part ways with some of their rising pitching talent like Chase Hampton, Drew Thorpe, and Will Warren.

In addition, young outfielder Everson Pereira may pique their interest. Still, the Yankees may not be willing to give away a substantial haul if they have to take on another contract like Jake Cronenworth in the process.

Dominguez is expected to return from Tommy Jon surgery at some point next year, with his earliest timetable in July. He will likely take over the centerfield job in the future, which would situate Soto in left field and Aaron Judge in right field.

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

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The Yankees Can Live With Soto’s Defensive Liabilities

Soto is one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game, but he’s played over 150 games for three consecutive years and is a Hall-of-Fame-level bat. This past season, Soto played all 162 games, hitting .275 with a .410 OBP and .519 slugging rate, including 35 homers, 109 RBIs, and a 155 wRC+. If Judge were forced to miss any time, Soto would easily step into his shoes and supplement the 2022 MVP.

Of course, the Yankees would have to take on his estimated $30 million in arbitration and try to extend him beyond the 2024 season, which could cost them in excess of $400 million.

Clearly, rumors are starting to become reality, and the Yankees are making a significant push for one of the best players in baseball, a 25-year-old superstar who would transform the batting order.