The Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline is a mere 10 days away, which means teams are trying to sort out whether they’re buying, selling, or holding as that date approaches. Accordingly, this is also Rumor Season in MLB, and we’re here to round up what’s out there. Now let’s jump into Saturday’s buzz.
The story of the deadline will be Nationals superstar outfielder Juan Soto, whether he’s traded, and if he is where he winds up. To recap, the 23-year-old is reported to have turned down a 15-year, $440 million extension offer from Washington, which means the Nats are now looking to trade him. It’s possible they’ll wait until the offseason to do so, but it’s also possible that something comes together in advance of the approaching deadline.
Simply put, Soto is a generational hitter, and he’s still exceptionally young. Soto this season owns a .250/.403/.494 batting line (160 OPS+) with 20 homers and many more walks (79) than strikeouts (54) this season. He’s a career .292/.427/.540 hitter (160 OPS+), which puts him among the greatest ever at his age.
Needless to say, Soto is coveted by any number of teams, and now you can count the AL East-leading New York Yankees among them:
Soto would be a fit for any team, and he’d be a particularly good fit for the Yankees, who have struggled to get adequate production out of corner outfielder Joey Gallo. It goes without saying that the Yankees, a team with colossal resources, can afford to take on any bad contracts that the Nationals insist on moving (Patrick Corbin’s, to be exact) and offer Soto a contract extension that exceeds what the Nats reportedly offered. They also have the high-ceiling prospects to get something done. Whether the Yankees will choose to make such commitments remains an open question, but the interest in a Soto trade — at least on a theoretical level — is there.
Yanks also eyeing Benintendi
Benintendi, 28, is batting .319/.389/.402 with three home runs. That’s good production, especially in what’s been a down year for offense, but he’s shown very little raw power. The assumption that Benintendi will be a notable upgrade moving forward for the Yankees depends upon his ability to continue hitting well north of .300. Even given his swing changes, that’s a risky bet since batting average is highly prone to luck-driven outcomes.
Benintendi is eligible for free agency this coming offseason, so absent an extension he’d be a “rental” acquisition.