Yankees, Mets will both explore trade for Juan Soto
LOS ANGELES — Both the Yankees and Mets will look into a trade for suddenly available superstar Juan Soto, sources tell The Post. That should surprise no one as his availability represents a rare chance to acquire an all-time talent at age 23.
That said, the early speculation around the game is that it won’t be easy for anyone to complete a megadeal like this by the Aug. 2 trade deadline since this is a generational type talent. Contending teams won’t want to surrender major league talent while they are in races and non-contenders won’t get value this year, only the following two years before he is due to become a free agent.
It may be especially hard for the Mets, as the Nats presumably wouldn’t want to see him in their division the next 2 ½ years. (Josh Bell and Nelson Cruz are a different story as impending free agents.)
“It’s going to be like Kevin Durant,” says one top decision-maker with a rival team, alluding to the NBA great who seems hard for the Nets to trade due to the difficulty of acquiring equal value for a monster talent.
Early unconfirmed speculation is that the Nats would request a team’s top four prospects and/or young major leaguers and perhaps a willingness to take Patrick Corbin’s bloated contract. With this kind of player, almost anything in the ask should be considered fair game.
Soto could help anyone as arguably the game’s top hitter, and since he has 2 ½ years to go before free agency, it’s possible that could open up the field a bit. However, teams have to assume it would be difficult to lock him up before free agency.
Soto declined the Nats’ $440 million, 15-year offer, as it represented a $29.3M average salary, which was rebuffed because it is below some other mega-stars and way below the target Max Scherzer’s record $43.3M Mets deal. (Nats people maintain Scherzer isn’t a fair comp because it’s a three-year deal). In any case, the early read is folks aren’t anywhere near shocked Soto would rebuff that offer even though it represents a record for total dollars.
Here’s a very early assessment of the likely hopefuls (with odds):
1. Rangers: Texas showed it’s one of the big players when it spent a half of a billion dollars on the double-play combo of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien this winter. Could the Rangers go for another $500M? Odds: 10-1
2. Dodgers: They have been in on all the best players in recent years, and gotten some of them. The lineup is already considered an all-timer, but could you imagine Soto joining Trea Turner, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman? They obviously have a lot of money and the prospect capital, but will soon need to figure out shortstop as Turner is a free agent. Odds: 12-1
3. Padres: GM A.J. Preller nearly signed Soto as an amateur and surely would like another crack at him. While they are reluctant to trade Fernando Tatis, they do have a few top prospects. But there is one big issue. “They don’t have the money,” one rival exec said. Of course, nobody thought they had the money for Manny Machado, or before that even Eric Hosmer. Give them credit for amazing effort. Odds: 15-1.
4. Yankees: They do want to keep Aaron Judge, who they love (even if he wasn’t thrilled with how their own negotiations went) and under normal circumstances a Soto acquisition might make things a bit uncomfortable (though Judge is a pro who would welcome him). Soto, like Judge, would be a tremendous fit at Yankee Stadium. They’d have to be willing to package some combo of Jasson Dominguez, Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza after looking reluctant to trade any of them in early deadline talk. Odds: 20-1
5. Mets: The Mets have the money, of course, but they are reluctant to surrender top prospects, they wouldn’t want to give up big leaguers while in first place and they would be a very unpopular trading partner in D.C. Odds: 30-1.
6. Red Sox: While the Red Sox have seemed reluctant to sign monster free-agent contracts, they have several key free agents and a lot of money potentially coming off the books (J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Nate Eovaldi are among many free agents). Odds: 40-1.
7. Giants: They tried previously for Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton (Harper wound up choosing the Phillies, and Stanton had a full no-trade and accepted the Yankees after rebuffing the Cardinals, too). They have some pretty prospects, but perhaps not quite enough of them. Odds: 50-1.
8. Cubs: They have the revenues and presumably a lot of money left, but they are not in the race and seem reluctant to go big. Odds: 100-1.
9. The field: Did anyone see the Twins signing Carlos Correa? You never know in these cases. Odds: 8-1.
10. Nats: There’s a decent chance he winds up staying. He’d still carry tremendous value in the winter, and more teams may be in play. Odds: Even money.
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