With four days to go, the Cardinals, Padres, Dodgers and Rangers, among others, appear at the forefront of trade talks for superstar Juan Soto, and someone connected to the talks said he “absolutely” believes Soto will be dealt by Tuesday’s trade deadline.
While the Yankees and Mets are among contenders trying for Soto, they don’t seem to be in the middle of talks at the moment. The Yankees, who retain interest even after acquiring Andrew Benintendi, have good prospects but the Nationals seem focused elsewhere. No surprise that isn’t Queens considering the Mets and Nats are in the same division.
High-ceiling youngsters such as Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker (Cardinals), Robert Hassell III and C.J. Abrams (Padres), Josh Jung and Jack Leiter (Rangers), and Bobby Miller and Michael Busch (Dodgers), and many others of that stature could be in play for the 23-year-old wunderkind, likely in packages of four or more.
The haul should, and likely will, be eye-popping to baseball insiders. Here’s why: Soto agent Scott Boras has suggested Soto’s “surplus value” could be $500 million, as he calculates there are 11 elite years to go, and his expected WAR could be worth up to $80M-$90M per year, putting his value at close to $1 billion.
It’s worth taking another look at the hopefuls. There is only one Soto.
1. Padres: They have some big-time youngsters, including pitchers MacKenzie Gore (currently out with an elbow concern) and Adrian Morejon, and hitters Hassell and Abrams. They are in the market to upgrade their offense, and they have perhaps the most aggressive GM in A.J. Preller, who tried hard for Soto as an amateur free agent.
2. Cardinals: Rival execs believe Nats GM Mike Rizzo likes their stash of young players, especially position players, including outfielders Dylan Carlson and Harrison Bader and infielders Walker, Gorman and Masyn Winn. One rival exec saw the Cards as the safest bet in terms of floor.
3. Dodgers: They are a major player for all stars, and as The Post’s Joel Sherman pointed out, they’ve acquired Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, Turner and Scherzer at the deadline. Dodgers president Stan Kasten is an ex-Nat, and the teams made the big Max Scherzer/Trea Turner deal last deadline. Miller is an ace, Dustin May is talented. Versatile position player Gavin Lux, infielder Busch and pitcher Ryan Pepiot provide more options. A rival: “They have more resources than anyone.”
4. Rangers: While only on the cusp of the race, they have become one of the bigger-spending teams and have interesting prospects including Jung, who plays third base, a need of the Nats, and Leiter, the No. 2 overall pick a year ago.
5. Mariners: They also have prospects, starting with shortstop Noelvi Marte, and of course a strong desire to ensure a rare playoff spot.
6. Yankees: The greater need now is an arm (or two), too.
7. Giants: Left-hander Kyle Harrison is a potential No. 1 starter who could interest the Nats, but they aren’t looking like a contender.
8. Rays: They did try for Freddie Freeman, and have prospects. Soto would represent an inordinate portion of their payroll, though.
9. Mets: They have the prospects now, but it’s hard to imagine the Nats want to keep seeing Soto.