Two teams have reportedly emerged as the “frontrunners” to acquire superstar outfielder John Soto from the Washington Nationals.
According to FOX Sports and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, those teams are the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals. Rosenthal reported that the Padres will “do anything” to get Soto.
“The Padres are a team — we’ve seen this before under general manager AJ Preller — they are extremely aggressive,” Rosenthal said. “They have prospects, no doubt. Preller would love to get Soto to go with Tatis and Machado and that excellent rotation. And there are people in the industry who believe he’ll do anything to get him, just about.”
San Diego could include left-hander MacKenzie Gore and infielder CJ Abrams in a trade package for Soto. Concerning their farm system, the Padres have catcher Luis Campusano, outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wood, and pitchers Reiss Knehr and Robert Gasser, among other prospects.
While he mentions their interest in Soto, Rosenthal alludes to how the Cardinals might have to adjust their philosophy on prospects to acquire the 23-year-old outfielder.
“Then the Cardinals, they’re a little bit different,” Rosenthal said. “They are run completely differently. They try to balance, always, the present with the future, and have been reluctant in the past to give up big-time prospects in this kind of deal. It’s just not something they ordinarily do. Now, they’re going to need to do something because they need starting pitching. Montas is a guy they’re interested in, and obviously at some point they’re going to have to get a little uncomfortable if they want to improve their team.”
St. Louis could include left-hander Matthew Liberatore, infielder Nolan Gorman and one of outfielders Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill in a trade package for Soto. Concerning their farm system, the Cardinals have infielders Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn, catcher Ivan Herrera and outfielder Joshua Baez, among other prospects.
Soto reportedly turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract extension from the Nationals. He is under team control through the 2024 MLB season. Soto owns a .243/.399/.478 batting line to go along with 20 home runs, 45 RBIs and an MLB-best 84 walks this season. For his career, Soto owns a .291/.426/.537 batting line.
The Nationals have the worst record in MLB at 34-67.
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