Padres “Seem to Be the Most Motivated” on Juan Soto (UPDATES: Also Josh Bell? Aggressive? Soto Going SOMEWHERE Today?)
It feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve heard about the Padres in connection to Juan Soto. “Long time” is a relative concept this time of year, and it basically means … like, 12 hours? Maybe 16?
The Padres were obviously always still in on Soto – that’s the whole reason things are still waiting on the Cubs’ side, in my estimation – so it’s not a surprise to see them discussed by Ken Rosenthal on his morning state of the trade deadline. But it’s notable that Rosenthal reminds us that the Padres are still the team that may be pushing the hardest:
The Padres still seem to be the most motivated to give the Nationals what they want. The Dodgers are in, but not at the current asking price; their big lead in the NL West leaves them in a less urgent position than last year, when they acquired ace righty Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner at the deadline while in a close race for the division title. The Cardinals’ intentions are less clear. They have the pieces to get Soto, but might prefer to continue loading up on pitching, adding another starter and reliever to complement their trade for lefty José Quintana.
Rosenthal also guesstimates that Willson Contreras could be the fallback for the Padres if they don’t land Soto (some variation of a deal with the Cubs sure seems likely in that case), so, you figured it, we’re still tracking Soto very closely this morning.
Just make a decision, Nats.
UPDATE: Well I didn’t necessarily mean like that:
Suffice to say, that would be a shocker. I suppose you would have to guess that the Nationals are holding firm on demanding X, Y, and Z from the Padres for Soto, and the Padres are unwilling. So the Nationals are like, OK, what if we also send you Josh Bell?
Setting aside the Cubs trade implications here on guys like Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, I can’t help but wonder: if the Padres are adding multiple big chunks of additional salary (already Josh Hader, but also Soto and Bell), would they have to dump some salary to make it work for them financially? And since Bell plays first base, the obvious nexus there is Eric Hosmer, the oft-rumored Cubs vehicle for picking up a prospect. But then the problem there: the Padres would have to send the Nationals a HAUL to get Soto and Bell … would they really then ALSO send the Cubs a significant prospect just to unload a salary?
Indeed, it seems just as likely that it’s the Nationals who would have to take back a bad contract to get their desired return. This could go quite badly for the Cubs, but at least it wouldn’t end with Juan Soto on the Cardinals? And at least it would send two bats to the same location, maybe keeping the rest of the market open for Contreras and Happ?
UPDATE 2: Here comes the word “aggressive”:
UPDATE 3: Jon Morosi is stating it with confidence:
That, to me, indicates the Nationals already have at least one offer in hand that they know is acceptable if it comes down to it. I would have to guess it’s from the Padres, but the Nationals must want either the Dodgers or Cardinals to come in over the top, hence all the leaking.
UPDATE 4: OK, now I REALLY think this is all being driven by the Nationals wanting the Dodgers or Cardinals to come in over the top, because this is some seriously galaxy brain stuff:
The Padres ain’t putting out into the world, right now, “hey, we want Soto so bad, but also we might trade him later, so it’s no big deal to acquire him for prospects.” That’s just silliness, and it’s not coming from the Padres. Which means it’s probably coming from the Nationals as a sales pitch …