In case you missed the news this morning, the San Diego Padres are now considered the front-runners for Juan Soto and have reportedly exchanged names with the Nationals, including C.J. Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, and Robert Hassel III.
That’s notable for Cubs fans given (1) the Cardinals involvement, (2) the many Cubs-Padres trade rumors, and (3) the market for Ian Happ. Happ is obviously not a substitute for Juan Soto — and the Andrew Benintendi trade did get done last night — but I tend to think the best and final Happ offers don’t come in until Soto is either off the board or definitely not getting traded.
So Who’s Left on Soto?
Well it seems clear to me that the likelihood of the Cardinals and Padres have ticked up over the last 24 hours, while the chances of Soto ending up in New York have dwindled.
Jon Heyman suggests that they’re not necessarily out, he adds that “it’s clear they aren’t currently at the forefront of those talks.” He adds the Dodgers and Rangers, because of better prospect matches, to the Padres and Cardinals as the most likely teams at the present.
Heyman also says the Yankees are trying to trade Joey Gallo (what else is new?), but they’ve been having trouble finding the right value because two of the interested parties, Padres and Rangers, are wrapped up in Soto trade talks. Which. Okay. Joey Gallo should really not cost much to acquire, I think the Yankees are silly for thinking they will get anything of significance for him, at all.
Mets Still All Over the Cubs
I will genuinely be pretty surprised if the Mets and Cubs don’t come together on a deal before the deadline, at least for one of the relievers, if not also/or Willson Contreras.
At The Athletic, Will Sammon underscores their interest in trade for David Robertson, and he’s hardly the only one saying that over the last 24 hours:
In a related point at the Chicago Tribune, Paul Sullivan seems to imply that Robertson could be the first Cubs player moved before the deadline. His theory is that there’s really no reason to risk letting him throw even one more time – a theory that certainly seems supported based on his lack of availability in a save situation on Tuesday night, despite not pitching on Monday. I really don’t know if we’ll see him again.
The Mets are also still in on Willson Contreras, and I just see them as such an obvious fit:
Giants Not Selling (Yet)
At the beginning of the month, the San Francisco Giants were pretty clear buyers with playoff odds up over 50% according to FanGraphs. But after their latest/current seven-game losing streak, those odds have dropped down to just 23%! More than half!
And yet, they’re not willing to give up just yet.
This does make me wonder if the current series against the Cubs, or maybe even literally these net two games, might play a role in their decision. They could conceivably be buyers on someone like Willson Contreras, and, hey … Joey Bart was taken out of the game early yesterday with an “illness.” Which … you always have to be a little skeptical around this time of the year, especially because I see Bart as a potential trade chip, maybe even literally in a different type of a deal with the Cubs.
Astros Want to Trade SPs for Big League Help?
Well, this is a pretty surprising angle I hadn’t considered. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Houston Astros may want to trade one of their starting pitchers, not for prospects, but for a big league player, specifically a catcher or center fielder (albeit guys under team control (so not Willson Contreras).
Who might that player be? Good question. The trade market is not deep in catchers or center fielders. The obvious potential targets — Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins, Pirates center fielder Bryan Reynolds, Athletics catcher Sean Murphy — do not play for teams hellbent on making the playoffs. So, the motivation for those clubs to meet the Astros’ price for an established starter would not be especially strong.
Rosenthal also added that the Marlins, Brewers, and Phillies are looking for center field help, the latter of which tracks with the latest Ian Happ rumor.
Odds and Ends:
- Apparently, there’s been “some speculation in the industry the Reds might choose to hang on to pitcher Luis Castillo,” but I just don’t buy it. It is an insanely seller-friendly market for starting pitchers and Castillo is the best option. If you’re the Reds, you trade him.
- First baseman Christian Walker (D-Backs) has reportedly turned into an attractive alternative to the Nationals Josh Bell among 1B trade targets ahead of the deadline.