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MLB trade deadline: Juan Soto, Willson Contreras, other rumors

By Wednesday, it will all be over. This is the last call for trades. Teams have until 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday to make their moves. The contenders are trying to improve their rosters for a playoff run and try not to sell their future in the process. Rebuilders are trying to milk every last drop out of their trade partners, hoping to get the best possible package of prospects back to speed their return to relevance.

It will be an eventful day, even if Juan Soto, the best player available this season—perhaps ever—is not being traded. Here are a few things to keep in mind before things get started.

Soto Lottery

Soto’s offer appears to be limited to three teams: the Padres, Cardinals and Dodgers. San Diego he still looks like the first, if for no other reason than he has the biggest need for a strikeout bat and his GM is AJ Preller. If any of the three general managers are going to get more creative in dealing with Soto, it will be the one SI’s Emma Baccellieri called the “noted agent of deadline chaos” in her column about the puzzling Josh Hader trade.

So, in what ways can Preller try to land Soto? Well, the first option is to trade a ton of prospects for Soto. It’s true that the Padres’ farm system isn’t as deep as it was a few years ago, but they still have enough quality young players to make something happen. That would leave their pipeline pretty dry, but Preller has long operated on the idea that many times until prospects are major leaguers, and sometimes even after that, their best use is as a trade chip for an established star. The most likely prospects to head to Washington in a deal with Soto are shortstops CJ Abrams and Jackson Merrill, outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wood and pitchers MacKenzie Gore and Dylan Lesko.

It’s crazy to think that all of them would go on a trade in Nationals just for one player, even if that player is Soto… unless another big name is involved. If that happens, that player looks set to be the first baseman Josh Bell. According to multiple reports this morning, the two teams are working on a trade package for Soto and Bell. To offset the cost, Washington may have to assume the remaining three years and $39 million Eric Hosmerof the contract, in addition to what he will be owed for the last two months of this season. This shouldn’t be too much of a hurdle. For all the Washington talk, including Patrick Corbin and the Stephen Strasburg in a Soto deal, the main reason the Nats are trading Soto is to acquire a number of prospects who can help form the core of their next winning team. Would attaching one of the two starters over the hill reduce the return, and if that’s the case, wouldn’t the opposite also be true? If cost-cutting isn’t the primary concern for the Nationals, then they could be willing to pay Hosmer $13 million per year over the next three seasons.

The one thing that keeps coming up as a reason why the Cardinals What they won’t trade for Soto is their supposed inability to sign him to a long-term deal, either through a $500 million extension or possibly more in a free agent contract. That might be the case, just because you’d think the heavy hitters in New York and/or Los Angeles would outshine St. Louis. But just take a look at the contracts for the two highest-paid Cardinals. there could be some flexibility for a Soto extension.

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2023 2024 2025 2026 2027

Paul Goldschmidt

$26 million

$26 million




Nolan Arenado

$35 million

$35 million

$32 million

$27 million

$15 million

Soto is eligible for free agency after the 2024 season, so at the same time Paul Goldschmidt it comes off the books. Even if the Cardinals choose to re-sign their first baseman, he’ll be 37 years old by then and probably won’t be making the same annual salary he’s making now. In the meantime, Nolan ArenadoHis annual salary decreases in the final three years of his deal. If Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak wants to get creative with a Soto extension — say, $530 million over 12 years, with Soto’s annual salary above his AAV of $44 million (which would be a record ) and lower in the early years while Goldschmidt and/or Arenado are still under contract—that might be enough to do it.

The Dodgers they’re probably the least likely of the three teams to trade Soto, if only because their prospect pool isn’t as deep as San Diego’s and St. Louis’. Los Angeles has already traded many of them away for superstars, including the Nationals in last year’s blockbuster for Max Schercher and Trea Turner. Then again, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman can also get creative, and the Dodgers certainly have the money to extend or re-sign Soto. We’ve seen the two NL West rivals engage in arms races before. If the Dodgers believe Soto is headed to San Diego, Friedman could step in like he did last year with Schercher and Turner.

throw, throw, throw…

That’s what any contending team could use more of going into the final months of the season, yet there’s not much going on this year. Now that Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas have been traded, they are the best starting pitchers available Tyler Mahle from Red and Noah Syndergaard from Angels. Nathan Eovaldi from red socks and Carlos Rodon from Giants could also be available, though both of their teams are still in wildcard contention and could decide to hold onto them for at least the rest of the year.

Maybe we could see deals similar to this one Houston and Atlanta It happened Monday night. The Astros, who are among the few teams with starting pitching depth, traded up Jake Odorici to Atlanta for a left-handed reliever undefinedwho would likely be the odd man out in high-leverage situations for the one-time defending champs Kirby Yates returning from injury. The Padres are another team with a surplus of starting pitchers, and they could afford to trade someone from their six-man rotation for another impact bat.

The Cubs hold the key

All the stars Wilson Contreras and Ian Happas well as closer David Robertson, they could all be on the move on Tuesday. Contreras is among the last players from the 2016 World Series team who still have Babies, and is free after this season. Considering the general lack of great hitters, especially big hitters, in the game today, let alone available at the deadline, we expect Contreras to be moved before the day is out. The Mets, Guardians and Rays they suit him better, but don’t sleep Giants if they decide to buy instead of sell. Top prospect Joey Bart has struggled this season, but trading for Contreras wouldn’t mean giving up on him. Instead, Contreras could be a real rental. He could join San Francisco for the stretch run and split catching duties with Bart while also starting at DH—don’t overlook the challenges of joining a new team in the middle of the season and having to lead an entirely new one pitching staff—before leaving in free agency after the year ends.

Ian Happ has been linked to Blue Jays, who need another left-handed bat. Happ is a switch and has experience playing all over the field, although he is primarily used in center and left field. If the Blue Jays trade for him, they could send one of their right-handed hitters, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. the Teoscar Hernández, on a team that needs a little more boost in its outfield but has a surplus of pitchers (read: Padres). Toronto could also ask to include Robertson with Happ or in a separate deal.

More MLB Trade Deadline Coverage:
• The Trey Mancini Trade is a harsh reminder that the Orioles’ rebuild isn’t over
• Frankie Montas Trade Pushes Yankees Closer to World Series
• Make Sense of the Enigmatic Josh Hader Trade
• Juan Soto trade deadline predictions
• With the Luis Castillo Trade, the Mariners aim for October

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