The 2022 Major League Baseball trade deadline will be here before you know it. Thanks to the lockout, this year’s deadline was pushed back to Tuesday, August 2nd. Needless to say, we should see a flurry of activity on the market between now and then.
Over the weekend, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported superstar outfielder Juan Soto rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract offer from the Washington Nationals. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said earlier in the year the team had no intention of trading the 23-year-old phenom, but Washington’s stance on the matter has reportedly changed. Because Soto still hasn’t put pen to paper on an extension, the Nationals are reportedly now willing to listen to trade offers.
BREAKING: Juan Soto rejects $440M offer. Nationals will now entertain trading him. Story: https://t.co/u4ubuImb2S
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 16, 2022
Soto won’t hit free agency until after the 2024 season, so the Nats don’t necessarily have to make a swap happen any time soon. That said, trading Soto while he still has two-and-a-half seasons of team control left would give Washington their best chance to net a proper return in any deal.
The Nats’ asking price for Soto will be sky-high, and rightfully so. Players of his caliber simply do not come around very often. Most players his age are still toiling away in the minor leagues, while Soto is already in the midst of his fifth season in the majors.
MLB betting sites are already offering Juan Soto trade odds. You can bet on which team will trade for Soto if the Nationals ultimately decide to pull the trigger on a deal. If he is traded this summer, where will he land?
Juan Soto Trade Odds
|New York Mets||+400|
|New York Yankees||+525|
|San Francisco Giants||+550|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+600|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+700|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+700|
|San Diego Padres||+700|
|Boston Red Sox||+1000|
|Los Angeles Angels||+1600|
|Chicago White Sox||+1600|
New York Yankees (+525)
Not every team will have what it takes to trade for a player like Juan Soto. You can probably count the number of teams capable of affording a Soto contract extension on one hand, but it’s in the Nationals’ best interests to sell to the highest bidder.
With 2.5 seasons left on his current contract, any team that trades for Soto doesn’t necessarily have to be the one that signs him to a long-term deal. That said, you can bet teams with fat payrolls like those listed above will be highly interested in doing just that.
The New York Yankees rise to the top of the list whenever a star player becomes available. New York has been synonymous with spending big money on big stars for decades. Soto is one of the game’s five best hitters, and every other team in baseball will have at least some interest in trading for him. The Yankees are one of the few with enough capital to actually make a deal happen, however.
The Yankees have a big decision to make this coming winter, when Aaron Judge will hit free agency. Judge is currently the betting favorite to win American League MVP this season, while the Yankees have surpassed the Dodgers as World Series favorites. Judge has 33 home runs at the All-Star break, and he reportedly turned down a number of lucrative extension offers from the Yanks in order to bet on himself ahead of free agency.
So far, that’s looking like a smart wager on Judge’s part. Soto’s sudden availability could have a fascinating effect on whether the Yankees ultimately opt to back a Brinks truck up to Judge’s house after the season ends. As phenomenal as Judge is, Soto is a whopping seven years younger. Any money the Yankees may want to pay Judge would likely be better spent on the significantly younger Soto instead.
Judge’s potential departure is likely the reason the Yankees’ Juan Soto odds are the second-best on the board.
Los Angeles Dodgers (+600)
You can bet the mighty Dodgers are another team that will have major interest in trading for Soto. Just last summer, we saw the Dodgers and Nationals join forces on the blockbuster of a deal that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to Southern California.
Not only do the Dodgers have more than enough money to theoretically afford any Soto contract extension, but they’re also one of the few teams in the entire league with a farm system good enough to tempt the Nats into a trade. According to MLB.com, the Dodgers entered the season with the fifth-best collection of minor-league talent in the sport.
The Dodgers are built to win now, and they’ve shown in recent years they’re happy to part ways with high-end prospects in order to improve their chances to compete for a World Series immediately. Diego Cartaya, Bobby Miller, and Michael Busch would presumably be at the top of the Nats’ wish list for any Soto package the Dodgers could offer.
Mookie Betts is locked up on a long-term deal to stay in Los Angeles, but the rest of the Dodgers’ outfield is in flux. Cody Bellinger has regressed considerably since winning National League MVP in 2019. Chris Taylor, the team’s everyday left-fielder, is currently on the injured list with a foot injury. Taylor is capable of playing a variety of positions, including second base. If, say, Gavin Lux heads to DC in a Soto trade, Taylor can certainly take over at the keystone position for the Dodgers.
Under their current ownership group, the Dodgers have shown they’re willing to spend as much as it takes to keep the team in the World Series mix every single year. The 2022 Dodgers are certainly capable of winning it all even without Soto in the heart of the order, but this is exactly the type of player LA would gladly pillage the farm to acquire.
As a result, it’s hard not to like the Dodgers’ Juan Soto trade odds at +600. They’re an absolute steal at this number. You can argue they should be the favorites based on their aggressiveness and presumed willingness to meet Washington’s steep asking price.
New York Mets (+400)
The Mets’ Juan Soto odds (+400) aren’t quite as favorable as those of the Yankees or the Dodgers, but the other New York team does have the spending power to make it happen. Thanks to new owner Steve Cohen, the Mets are finally beginning to operate like the big-market team they’ve always been.
Just last offseason, the Mets made Max Scherzer the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history in terms of average annual value. The year before that, they inked Francisco Lindor to a massive extension worth over $340 million. The new-look Mets are more than happy to splash the cash necessary to compete with the game’s truly elite clubs.
Of course, one hurdle standing in the Mets’ way is the fact that they share a division with the Nationals. Soto has 15 homers in 67 career games against the Mets, so they have plenty of firsthand knowledge about just how great he is at the plate. Of course, there’s also a pretty strong chance the Nats would have zero interest in sending the 23-year-old superstar to a team inside their own division.
The last thing the Nationals should want to do is send Soto somewhere nearby. As a result, New York’s best chances of landing the Childish Bambino will likely be through free agency after the 2024 campaign. I don’t think there’s really any chance Washington would trade Soto to another NL East outfit. There’s simply no reason the Mets should be favored to land the Nationals’ superstar via trade.
San Francisco Giants (+550)
The Giants haven’t made a lot of splashy moves in recent years. San Francisco won a league-high 107 games a season ago after cobbling together a solid roster full of underrated players. The team’s under-the-radar signing of Carlos Rodon last winter has paid immediate dividends.
The Giants will pay just four players over $10 million in 2023, headlined by Rodon’s $21 million salary. This franchise does have deep pockets, and you can bet they’ll be willing to spend on the right player. Soto certainly fits the bill, but do the Giants have enough young talent to tempt the Nats into a trade?
San Francisco has the 11th-best farm system in the league, so there’s depth within the organization. One would imagine the Dodgers would be able to trump any offer the Giants make, though, which complicates matters for San Francisco. The fact that these teams are longtime divisional rivals should make the potential competition for Soto’s services a pretty fascinating one.
The Giants’ +550 Juan Soto trade odds don’t offer much more upside than those you can get on the Yankees (+525) or Dodgers (+600). As a result, I have a hard time buying San Francisco as a legitimate suitor, as of now.
Which Team Will Trade for Juan Soto?
In the end, I keep coming back to the Dodgers as the most logical landing spot for Soto. Washington would presumably prefer to ship their star outfielder to the American League, but the Dodgers have enough trade ammo to clear that potential stumbling block.
Unlike the Yankees, who have balked at spending in free agency over the past couple of years, the Dodgers have been incredibly aggressive in terms of trying to assemble their own All-Star team. The Bronx Bombers may make their way into the mix if they pass on offering Judge a lucrative enough deal to stick around, but I expect Los Angeles to jump to the front of the line.
Bet on the Dodgers’ +600 Juan Soto odds before taking the Yankees at +525. The Mets’ +400 Juan Soto odds are a complete fade, while I’m skeptical that the Giants can beat out their archrivals in trade negotiations.