arguments against trade juan soto It’s simple: he is one of the five best hitters in the world. Winning the World Series is a more realistic scenario when he’s on your roster. Soto’s current employer, San Diego PadresExpected to contest elections in 2024. Soto and his .900 OPS make this a possible proposition.

But the argument for trading Soto, though more complex, is equally compelling.

Barring an extension, the 25-year-old superstar will reach free agency at the end of next season. If he signs elsewhere, the Padres will give Soto nothing more than a compensatory draft pick. It’s an unpalatable outcome as San Diego emptied its farm system to acquire Soto at the 2022 trade deadline.

The recent tragic passing of team owner Peter Seidler, who single-handedly brought the Padres to baseball relevance with his unwavering passion and willingness to spend, has cast a cloud over the organization’s financial future. Over the past few years, San Diego spent beyond expectations (and perhaps beyond its means) for its small market size. And the club is reportedly seeking to reduce the payroll ahead of 2024, so a Soto extension seems unlikely.

Which means general manager AJ Preller should at least consider trading the left-hander this winter. Even though Soto only has one year of control remaining, many teams would still be interested in a deal at the right price. This is not a year of military training or waiting in line at the DMV, this is a year of generational conflict at the peak of its powers. Furthermore, there is a Lack of elite hitters available in free agency,

Before we dive into potential landing locations, here are three things to consider:

(1) This accomplishment will be less impressive than the package San Diego gave to acquire Soto citizens,

The Padres sent a group of talent to Washington in exchange for Soto. Simply put, Soto now has 1.5 less years of team control tied to him at the 2022 deadline. This would in turn mean a lighter trade package.

(2) In return, San Diego would probably prefer big-league, or big-league adjacent pitching with years of team control.

The Padres plan to compete for a playoff spot in 2024. It wouldn’t make sense to bring back four recent high school draftees or 17-year-old complex-level pitchers. San Diego’s current projected pitching rotation is joe musgrove, Yu Darvish And three kind fellows you’ve probably never heard of. The lineup is still pretty good even without Soto. Any trade partner would need to part with a cadre of young, talented arms who could decimate pitching-light organizations like the Mets and Red Sox.

(3) Some teams won’t be interested at all.

Only a top contender or a team under extreme pressure to win in 2024 or a team with a closing competitive window are mortgaging the future for it. So eliminate the emerging smaller clubs with allegiance to “stability” like Baltimore, Cincinnati and Detroit. Additionally, Soto’s projected arbitration salary this season (about $30 million) would likely out-shine more stingy teams (Cleveland, Arizona) or teams seeking payroll cuts (Tampa, Minnesota, Miami).

So who can join in? Here are the top five potential trading partners.

Juan Soto or Ronald Acuña Jr.? john smoltz weighs in

los angeles dodgers

Who can they offer: bobby miller Was so dominant in 2023 that he is probably untouchable. But Los Angeles has a whole host of other hard-throwing hurlers, including, but not limited to: Ryan Peppiatt, Michael Grove, gavin stone, Emmett Sheehan, Maddux Bruins, Nick Fraso. The weapons are there. If LA doesn’t want to give up many weapons, outfielders james outman And a pitcher can accomplish this task.

Why: you are welcome shohei ohtani Pivot. If the Dodgers don’t land a two-way supernova, they’ll have to turn elsewhere. Enter, Soto. The $30 million is relative pocket change they already set aside for Ohtani, meaning the Dodgers could have extended Soto before he hit the market, as they did mookie bets,

Why not: The Padres probably wouldn’t want to trade a talented and dangerous player like Soto to a division rival. Also, there’s an argument that no non-Miller Dodgers arms are impressive enough to headline a Soto trade.

seattle mariners

Who can they offer: george kirby Is untouchable at this point, especially with Soto just a year away, but for any one of these logan gilbert, bryce miller Or brian woo This would be a legitimate headliner as part of a pitching-heavy package. There are more than enough promising high-minor weapons in Seattle’s system to make a deal.

Why: Few organizations boast such young, controllable pitching. Why not trade strengths to improve weaknesses? Seattle desperately needs another all-world bopper to pair with julius rodriguez, Jared Kelenic Scheduled for an outfield corner, but imminent departure teoscar hernandez Another cornerback is left open in free agency.

Why not: The $30 million price tag in 2024 is huge for a team with so many shortcomings. It’s also unlikely that the Mariners will spend the cash needed to sign Soto on a long-term deal.

atlanta braves

Who can they offer: AJ Smith-Shower Gotta be the headliner. The athletic Texan made a splash in the system, debuting in a big way this season before his 21st birthday. He is a relatively big league ready arm who could help the Padres this season. Some evaluators like Hurston Waldrep, Atlanta’s 2023 first-round pick, but the splitter-happy righty is probably a bit away from contributing in the majors in ’24. Associating Smith-Shower with the young/controllable von grissom This could be accomplished, or Atlanta could incorporate multiple shallow depth weapons.

Why: the brave refused eddie rosariooption, leaving them without a left fielder. Grissom could fill the void, but Soto would take Atlanta’s already historic lineup to another level (on paper). After the Braves were embarrassed in the NLDS for the second consecutive year, president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos is preparing for a busy winter.

Why not: The Braves’ farm system is largely devoid of top-tier talent, even as their big league team remains comically full. Anthopoulos, a disciple of the long game, is unlikely to move the chips for a year to Soto, especially when starting pitching presents a huge need. Also, the Braves don’t have a single Scott Boras client. This is no coincidence and will make potential trade-expansion more difficult.

new York Yankees

Who can they offer: clark schmidt Showed glimpses of improvement in ’23, helped the Padres in ’24, and remained in team control for three years after that. He’s a relatively weak headliner given his mediocre MLB track record, but the Yankees have enough promising pitching prospects (Will Warren, Drew Thorpe, etc.) in the high minors to get a deal.

Why: And who has more pressure to win? No team in baseball got less production from its outfield in 2023 than New York, which is especially worth considering aaron judge was fantastic. But other outfield spots have since become a black hole in the Bronx giancarlo stanton The running stopped and Brett Gardner ended it. Soto’s left bat and Yankee Stadium’s small veranda in right field would be an all-time great matchup.

Why not: The Yankees need a center fielder more than another corner bat. Also, is this roster big enough to warrant such a short-term, high-risk maneuver?

chicago cubs

To whom they can offer: take off your dirty hands Justin Steele, The lefty was too good for the Cubs to deal him in 2023, but jordan wicksThe 24-year-old left-hander, who made his debut last season, is a legitimate conversation starter. Wicks looked solid in his brief seven-start stint and immediately became San Diego’s third-best pitcher. Chicago will likely need to supplement with a pitching prospect like Wicks ben brown Or Caleb Killian.

Why: In place of Cody Bellinger’s Offensive production should be a top priority for president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer. There are no non-Ohtani options on the market that can fill that void. Soto could.

Why not: ian hape And Seiya Suzuki The corner outfield positions were locked in for the next few seasons. Adding Soto to that mix will require a DH rotation. Switching Bellinger to center and upgrading to third base seem like more serious issues.

jake mintzstrong half of @CespedesBBQ Is a baseball writer for Fox Sports. He played college baseball, first poorly, then very well, very briefly. Jake lives in New York City where he coaches Little League and sometimes rides his bike at the same time. Follow him on Twitter @Jake_Mintz,

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