Although there were a few brief mentions early on, the Chicago Cubs are no longer being connected to Juan Soto in any of the almost hourly updates we’re getting on that process — a process that has been fast-paced and ever-changing.
So who’s still in this race? Let’s start there.
Latest Soto Suitors?
In his latest update at ESPN+, Buster Olney runs through a lot of Soto rumors updates, but it’s the pulse-check on potential landing spots that most caught my attention. You can glean more on each team right here to draw your own conclusions, but this is my read on Olney’s intel:
- Right now, the Padres, Blue Jays, White Sox, and Rangers are the most motivated/likely/willing to do what it takes to get Juan Soto from the Nationals. Though that doesn’t necessarily equate to the teams most likely to get him. Maybe under normal circumstances that would add up, but for a player of Soto’s caliber (playing for a team gearing up for a sale), anything is possible.
- The Dodgers are less willing to make the move than a lot of people suspect, because they think they’re already good enough to win right now anyway. Which … okay, fair enough. The Yankees are still more focused on retaining Aaron Judge than trading for and extending Soto. And they’re also being closely connected to Andrew Benintendi.
- The Mets and Braves would love to do it, but they’re not confident the Nats would trade Soto within the division (which, correct … they shouldn’t).
- The Cardinals are a team that could use Juan Soto (which would be literal hell), but their trade deadline efforts are currently more focused on acquiring high-end pitching.
As an related aside, this report out of NY is very clear about the Mets (and implicitly, the Braves) chances of landing Soto: “multiple, high-ranking officials with direct knowledge of the situation believe it an extreme longshot that Soto lands in Queens.”
Beyond that, Buster Olney reports that “The message that other clubs have gotten from Washington is that the team wants major-league-ready players — young players on cheap contracts who are already in the big leagues or close to making their debuts.”
Which comes awfully close to a conflict with the report yesterday that the Nationals would accept (prefer?) a package of prospects so that a deal could more easily get done before the deadline (the thinking there is that a contender would prefer not to subtract too much from the big league roster if they’re hoping to win with Soto this season). I can see how both things can be true at once, but that just underscores how complicated this trade might ultimately become.
Luis Castillo’s Market
The Cardinals may be seeking a top-end starting pitcher over the next 10 days, but the best one clearly available (and healthy) plays in their own division.
Luis Castillo is not a rental, but he’s a virtual lock to be traded at the deadline given that he’s playing at his best for a terrible Reds team at a time when the starting pitcher market is absolutely barren. Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees and Dodgers are considered favorites for Castillo, but the Astros are mentioned, as well. Heyman specifically says the Cardinals are unlikely to get a deal done, because of the shared division, so Frankie Montas could be an alternative for them (if he’s seen as healthy).
Trevor Rosenthal Tells Us About the Giants
That’s relevant to us, because the Cubs have three firmly available relievers on the trade market, including the top available rental closer, David Robertson, so there is some overlap here in terms of market competition. But I think even more telling is the fact that the Giants, of all teams, laid out the cash to add Rosenthal for the rest of this season. That’s a pretty good indication that they’re DEFINITELY not selling and could, in fact, be buying.
And that, of course, comes with its own set of implications:
Odds and Ends:
- Carlos Rodon hit the 110 innings pitched threshold a couple days ago, which means he can officially opt out of his contact at the end of the season. Rodon, 29, is having another excellent season overall (2.95 ERA over 19 starts with a 30.8% strikeout rate) and could be an excellent target for the Cubs this winter.
- In case you missed this:
- And also this: