Juan Soto Rumors: Saturday

The trade winds are swirling around Juan Soto as it remains unclear whether the Nationals will deal the superstar infielder before Tuesday’s trade deadline at 5pm CT. The market continues to change by the hour based on other deals, and no doubt based on the countless private conversations that take place between front office executives around baseball, and yet Soto (MLBTR’s top trade candidate of the term season) approaches everything. Certainly, some clubs will want to explore every possibility of acquiring Soto, but waiting too long could leave this team empty-handed for other trade options if Soto goes elsewhere.

The Padres are widely considered a top contender to land Soto, and are apparently open to giving up the kind of huge prospect package he’ll need to get Washington’s attention. According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Padres are “willing to discuss” names like CJ Abrams, Robert Hassell III and Adrian Morejon with the Nationals. All three are or have been staples of top 100 prospect lists for the past few years, though Morejon has “graduated” from most prospect lists due to his MLB experience, and MLB Pipeline also removed Abrams from his list because of his 43 great lists. games played earlier this season.

Since the Nationals are known to target younger, more controllable players, either in the majors or on the cusp of their major league debuts, the Padres’ trio appears to check those boxes. That said, it’s highly likely that the Nats will want even more from the top tier of San Diego’s farm system (or the active roster) in order to part with Soto, and the Padres might have to raise their offer in order to overcome the other suitors.

For example, the Cardinals also have a ton of young talent and have also been mentioned as a favorite to land Soto. Dylan Carlson is a name on Washington’s radar as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, writes that the Nats “like” the outfielder.

Carlson is only 23 years old and has already made a mark on the Mostra, offering above-average production at the plate and strong defense (as both center fielder and right fielder). The Nationals could be looking at Carlson as their next outfield cornerstone, as the team would already be pretty confident he could contribute right away, while players like Abrams, Hassell or Morejon are still unproven at the MLB level .

On paper, it looks like the Cardinals would have the depth to move Carlson as part of a deal for Soto, but that would leave the Cardinals without a reliable center fielder. Harrison Bader is still on the 10-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis, and a setback will extend his stint at least a few more weeks, manager Oliver Marmol told Goold and other reporters. Bader won’t even be without a right protective boot for a week or two, so while Carlson has ably filled in at center, St. Louis might also have to pivot to get a center fielder in another deal if Carlson were to move. A makeshift combination of Lars Nootbaar and Tommy Edman at center, for example, would not be an ideal choice for a would-be contender.

As mentioned, other trades can drastically change the situation for various teams, and two other potential suitors for Soto appear to be no longer involved. The Rays would have been an eyebrow-raising kind of team to land Soto, but the Nationals’ demands were “beyond their tolerance,” writes Joel Sherman of The New York Post . As such, the Rays avoided the blockbuster route and instead landed David Peralta from the Diamondbacks earlier today. Yesterday’s acquisition of Luis Castillo would also appear to take the Mariners out of the running for Soto, as Seattle dished out a large chunk of their potential capital to get Castillo from the Reds.

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