The New York Yankees are stepping up in their pursuit of All-Star outfielder Juan Soto, engaging in preliminary trade talks with the San Diego Padres, according to SNY reports.
While the Padres aren’t actively showcasing Soto on the trading block, insiders in the baseball realm are buzzing with expectations that a deal could be in the cards. The 25-year-old Soto, heading into his final season before free agency, seems to be the apple of many executives’ eyes as they anticipate that the right offer could sway the Padres.
The Yankees find themselves in dire need of offensive firepower, particularly left-handed power, to complement their superstar Aaron Judge. Soto, who celebrated his 25th birthday recently, is the ideal candidate to bolster their lineup. In the 2023 season, he showcased his prowess by playing in all 162 games, boasting a batting average of .275, an OBP of .410, and a slugging percentage of .519. With 35 home runs and an impressive 132 walks, Soto brings an elite combination of power and plate discipline to the table. Over his six-season career, he boasts an exceptional OPS+ of 157. The three-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger is set to enter free agency after the 2024 season.
Soto originally made his way to San Diego in August 2022, following a monumental eight-player trade involving multiple premium prospects. Despite joining a star-studded Padres roster, his first full season in 2023 ended in disappointment as the team struggled to an 82-80 finish, falling short of their lofty preseason expectations. With the Padres holding one of the highest payrolls in the league outside of New York, they are contemplating salary cuts, including the potential trade of Soto, who is due for a substantial salary increase in his final year of salary arbitration.
A trade for Soto would undoubtedly provide a significant boost to the Yankees and reinvigorate their passionate fan base. However, the Padres may be reluctant to sacrifice their aspirations for the 2024 season. Should they choose to part ways with Soto, the Yankees will undoubtedly face fierce competition in their quest to acquire the star outfielder.