The 2022 MLB trade deadline is 6 p.m. ET this coming Tuesday and it is believed three teams remain in the bidding for Washington Nationals wunderkind Juan Soto, according to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ. The three teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres. St. Louis is said to be offering the most talent off its MLB roster.
Soto, who is still only 23, rejected a 15-year extension worth $440 million at some point recently, prompting the Nationals to entertain trade offers. The $440 million guarantee would have been the richest contract in baseball history, though the $19.3 million average annual value would be only the 20th highest ever. These days elite players are getting $35-plus-million per year.
A Soto trade could also include Patrick Corbin and his pricey contract. Corbin is owed roughly $70 million through 2024. It will be difficult to get fair value for Soto in terms of talent, if not impossible. Unloading Corbin’s contract would be another way for Washington to extract value in the trade. Here’s a look at the seven teams best positioned to land the reigning NL MVP runner-up.
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The Seattle Mariners were said to be in the mix for Soto, though they used several top prospects to acquire Luis Castillo earlier this weekend, presumably taking them out of the running. The New York Yankees have only been on the periphery of the Soto chase, and their recent Andrew Benintendi addition lessens the need for another outfielder.
Players as good and as young as Soto are rarely traded, though there is a fairly recent example: Miguel Cabrera. The then-Florida Marlins traded Cabrera, then 24 and two years away from free agency, to the Detroit Tigers for a package of prospects, including Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. They were considered two of the 10-15 best prospects in baseball at the time.
In what can plausibly be considered a down season, Soto came into Sunday hitting .246/.404/.479 with 20 home runs and an MLB-leading 87 walks against 61 strikeouts. Only 45.4 percent of the pitches thrown to Soto this season have been in the strike zone. Given the lineup around him, opposing pitchers have little reason to challenge him.