“If the Dodgers lose the Shohei Ohtani free agent battle…”
The New York Yankees are the frontrunners in the race to sign Juan Soto (25, San Diego Padres), who turned down $440 million (approx. 59.75 billion won). The Yankees were at the bottom of the American League in most offensive metrics this season. They need to improve their batting lineup if they want to make up for missing the postseason and challenge for a World Series title.
In that regard, Soto, one of the most productive outfielders in the majors, is a perfect fit for the Yankees. San Diego is also looking to trade Soto as part of the payroll cut. There are also reports that the Yankees have no shortage of quality pitching prospects on the mound.
The Athletic reported on Sept. 29 that the Yankees and San Diego have not entered into any concrete negotiations. It’s not even officially the offseason. The Yankees are focused on offseason planning and San Diego on hiring a new manager, the report said.
However, it’s only a matter of time before the two sides come to an understanding, and “devil’s agent” Scott Boras won’t be signing him to an extension anytime soon. However, there are two issues with the Soto trade at this point. One is what other teams will do, and the other is the timing of the trade.
“A potential problem for the Yankees is that other teams could offer San Diego a better trade package,” said The Athletic. The Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, and Texas Rangers are also rated as having interest in Soto.
The Yankees are most concerned about the Los Angeles Dodgers. They would basically go all-in on Shohei Ohtani, 29, but nothing is a 100% sure thing. “If the Dodgers lose the battle for Ohtani, they have a lot of young weapons,” The Athletic said. If the Dodgers fail to land Ohtani, there’s nothing stopping them from pursuing Soto.
The Dodgers basically need to bolster their starting rotation. However, some believe that Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman are unlikely to have another MVP-caliber season at the same time. If that’s the case, then the batting order needs to be strengthened for the long term. Of course, it’s doubtful that San Diego would send Soto to the Dodgers in a trade, but it could be a factor.
San Diego is also a winnow in 2024, so it’s more likely that the Padres will move Soto right before next year’s trade deadline than this offseason, according to The Athletic’s analysis. This means that they will wait to see how he performs through the first half of the season before making a final decision on whether to trade him. The Yankees, on the other hand, would obviously need to acquire Soto in the offseason to be able to start the 2024 season. This is why the Yankees could be more aggressive in trading Soto.