Sunday, August 14, 2022

Batting Around: Predicting when a Juan Soto trade will happen and who will acquire Nationals star

Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we picked our Home Run Derby dream team. This week we’re going to discuss Juan Soto’s future.

When and where will Juan Soto get traded?

R.J. Anderson: It would take a lot of work for a deal to come together between now and Aug 2. As such, this feels like an offseason trade to me. The top three teams I identified as potential landing spots were the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Yankees. I think the Cardinals can offer the most talent, prospect and big-league variety, but it’s always hard to bet against Andrew Friedman when it comes to impact talent. Is it cheating to say either the Cardinals or Dodgers? Probably, but we make the rules here.

Dayn Perry: I think the Cardinals can offer the most alluring package of prospects and cost-controlled young talent, and this is the kind if impact trade for which they’ve shown a knack throughout recent history. For the sake of variety, I’ll say it goes down before the upcoming deadline. 

Matt Snyder: You know how people say “must be nice” in a really annoyed tone when they hear about rich people doing really cool things? That’s totally the Dodgers getting Juan Soto. 

They have the front office and farm system of a small-market cheat code, but they also have the resources of the Yankees. For me, I don’t really need to go through all the specifics of what would need to transpire for a deal to take place, then. The Dodgers make the most sense as a realistic landing spot, so that’s my pick. For me, it’s obvious enough that I’ll actually be surprised if he ends up somewhere else. 

Mike Axisa: The Padres and at the trade deadline. Padres GM AJ Preller loves to be aggressive, San Diego badly needs outfield help, and they can certainly get Nationals GM Mike Rizzo’s attention with a package that includes some combination of CJ Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, and Robert Hassell III (plus others). Preller is bold enough to do it, and I wonder if there’s a “save my job” component to this too. There were rumblings Preller was on the hot seat last season. I’m sure he feels some pressure to get over the hump this year.

The money might be an issue (San Diego is up against the $230 million luxury tax threshold) but that can be worked out. And it’s very unlikely they would be able to sign Soto long-term with Manny Machado’s and Fernando Tatis Jr.’s big contracts on the books, but that’s fine. They’d get Soto through 2024 (i.e. three postseason runs) and this is their World Series window. Soto is a balance of power player who can swing a postseason race or postseason series. I think Preller goes all-in to get him, because if he doesn’t, he might not be around to watch Abrams, Gore, and Hassell develop into the next Padres’ core.

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