The MLB trade deadline is just over a week away, and a big curveball has been thrown as Washington Nationals star Juan Soto has been made available.
Soto turned down a 15-year $440 million extension. His current contract runs through the end of the 2024 season. Any team that gets him will get him for three playoff runs, even if they don’t extend him after 2024.
Does it make sense for the Yankees to make a trade for Soto at this deadline? I think so, and here’s why.
As mentioned before, the Yankees would be getting Soto for three playoff runs at the very least. It is also a guarantee that he and Aaron Judge would be on the team together this season. Even if Judge walks at the end of the year and the Yankees prioritize Soto long-term, that combination is hard to pass up.
In case you're curious, Juan Soto has played in four games at Yankee Stadium in his career. He's hitting .267 with four hits and three home runs (including this tank in 2018). pic.twitter.com/DqGa6GMuPI
— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) July 16, 2022
The argument could be made that for just the 2022 season, adding starting pitching and getting an outfielder that costs less would more likely lead to a championship, and that is a reasonable take. However, with the uncertainty surrounding Judge’s future, Soto’s talent is simply just too much to pass up. Securing a 23-year-old who is a top-five player at the very least and having the chance to extend him arguably outweighs the benefits of making acquisitions solely based on the 2022 season. Also, it’s not like Soto doesn’t significantly increase the Yankees chances at a title this season.
It would take a haul to make the trade for Soto. Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, Oswald Peraza, or any other prospect who is highly touted in the Yankees system would be on the table. It would sting to sell the farm, but the odds that any of those guys end up as superstar players are slim-to-none, let alone anywhere as good as Soto. Prospects are fun to follow, but are never a sure bet.
There has also been the notion that Soto has had a down year, and while one might think that when looking at his .245 batting average, it is easy to see why that is the case. The Nationals are bad, and Soto does not get any lineup protection. In turn, he gets pitched around and walks a lot, as shown by his .401 on-base percentage. Imagine the pitches Soto will get to hit sandwiched between Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. That’s pretty much the polar opposite of what he is currently dealing with in Washington. Even with pitchers not giving Soto much to hit, he still has 20 home runs on the season.
Are there other great options available at the trade deadline? Of course. Luis Castillo, an outfielder and some bullpen help would help the team a ton. But when a talent like Soto is available, every general manager should do their due diligence.
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