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Tuesday Discussion- At What Cost Soto?

October 17, 2023

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This week we asked our writers to respond to the following:


Let's assume the Padres are willing to trade Juan Soto. And let's assume (because it makes all the difference in the discussion) that the Yankees can lock him up long term. In other words, the Yankees trade for, and will have Juan Soto for the next ten years. If that is the case, what would you be willing to send to the Padres in a trade for Juan Soto? Is Jasson Dominguez off-limits? Is anyone?


Here are their responses:

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Lincoln Mitchell - I would trade anybody in the Yankees organization one for one for Soto including Dominguez. I would send Dominguez and another top prospect or two, but not much more than that

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Paul Semendinger - I would give the Padres whatever they asked for. Juan Soto is one of the best players in the game today. He is the active leader in On-Base Percentage. He also hits for power. He is left-handed. He will be only 25-years-old for the 2024 season. He plays every day. The Yankees could use a durable young left-handed power hitting on-base-machine in their lineup. Soto's numbers compare favorably (if not better) to Bryce Harper's at the same points in their careers. The Yankees let Harper, a generational talent in his mid-20s, get away in 2019. They can't let the same happen with Soto. I'd happily depart with any of the young talent, including Anthony Volpe or Jasson Dominguez in a trade for Juan Soto. Soto will be a top player for a decade or more. He'll be around when, hopefully, the next great era comes. He is young enough to build around. He is the star the Yankees hope just one of their prospects becomes. The Yankees need to go big - this would be going big.

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Ed Botti - Baseball is not Basketball. One player does not change the entire team.

The last thing this team needs is another massive contract holding them down in the future. If it came down to one missing piece to go for it all, maybe I would be open to it. But as is, this team needs much more than a player that has hit .259 over the last 1,092 at bats (2022 and 2023) unless the price was reasonable, which it will not be.

The Padres will want multiple top prospects, and then they have to resign him, knowing he has already turned down a kings ransom from the Nationals, and Scott Boros is his agent. That is a huge risk. He is a great talent, for sure. I would rather see this team continue to build with young controllable players, and when they prove to us that they are ready to win it all, then and only then, add in a missing piece or two. They are not there yet. Much more needs to be done before bringing in another gazillionaire prima donna.

In other words, the front office needs to be much better and build a strong nucleus before anyone is rewarded with a top free agent. Sorry, but that is how they ended up where they are.

As far as trading away a 20 year old Dominguez? No chance. He could be the next Soto, or similar type of impact player at a much more reasonable rate. Ditto for Spencer Jones. I am not trading either one. Judge, Dominguez and Jones in 2024 or 2025 outfield sounds like a good plan. Go get a third baseman and a starter, that is the glaring need.

This team needs change. Trading away most of your top prospects for a massive contract player is not change, it’s the same stuff we have seen for a long time. Learn from mistakes!

They are not an outfielder away from catching the elite teams in the AL. They need ball players on this team. Last time I checked, Soto didn’t tilt the scales in the 82-80 San Padres favor. That’s Baseball Suzyn!

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Mike Whiteman - Through his age 24 season, Juan Soto is one of the elite hitters in baseball. Here's who baseball-reference lists as his comparables through age 24:


Bryce Harper

Frank Robinson

Andruw Jones

Giancarlo Stanton

Mike Trout

Ken Griffey Jr.

Juan Gonzalez

Orlando Cepeda

Miguel Cabrera

Eddie Mathews


Four Hall of Famers. Two certain to be Hall of Famers. One likely to be a Hall of Famer.


Outside of Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole, everyone is available. I'd like to hang onto some of Mike King, Anthony Volpe, Austin Wells. and Jasson Dominguez, but none would hold up the deal for me.

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Cary Greene - There would obviously be many suitors for Soto if Preller was to shop Soto, only the most elite trade returns would be considered. Acquiring the incredibly hyped Dominguez would excite the Padres fan base, as would the presence of Ohtani (assuming he was signed in advance of any Soto trade).


Would I support a Dominguez for Soto trade? I would not. I recognize that Soto is a top of the game slugger, but I think the Yankees at this time need to focus on bang for the buck and they have too many holes to fill. No one star offensive player is going to make enough of an impact to justify the outlay of coin.


Understandably, Dominguez is meanwhile just a prospect, there is no guarantee he’ll ever be a star player. He may or may not pan out. I’m against paying Preller a hefty price in other prospects to acquire an uber expensive player who would likely have to transition to being a DH as he ages and likewise, I highly doubt he’d have any interest at all in a Yankees proposal that didn’t include Dominguez.


Therefore, I’d rather see the Yankees focus on adding multiple left handed bats and pitchers and I believe they should shore up premium positions, starting with a center fielder and a few top shelf starters.

*** Ethan Semendinger - I don't think the qualifier of bringing in Juan Soto for 8000 years is important in this scenario. Instead, I think the idea of bringing in Juan Soto leads us to asking the question: "Are the Yankees willing to go all-in on Judge and Cole in their primes?"


If they are, then Juan Soto is a player that they have to bring in to make it to a ring.


It's not (or shouldn't be) a controversial statement to say that Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole are not going to stay at this level for ever. And, it could be coming sooner than we all hope. (See the quick fall from grace of Giancarlo Stanton.) So, while the going is still good, it would be wise for the Yankees to go all-in now and worry about the long-term future later.


If the Padres are willing to trade Soto, give them Dominguez. Trade them anybody who won't be making an immediate and irreplaceable impact at the MLB level in 2024. The idea of keeping around prospects at the current moment is worthless, if, by the time they are ready the Yankees will be too far in the hole on prime-less Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole.


This is the bed the Yankees have made for themselves financially and nothing indicates that they are willing to open their wallets like the good ol' days.


(With this move, the Yankees should also go all-out to bring in Yoshiobu Yamamoto and Yuki Matsui so that they could trade away a pitcher like Clarke Schmidt/Michael King in that Soto deal too.)

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Patrick Gunn - Getting Juan Soto would probably require saying goodbye to Jasson Dominguez, along with some combination of Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, Will Warren, Drew Thorpe, Austin Wells, Clayton Beeter, Chase Hampton, and Spencer Jones, to name a few. This really depends how high you think Dominguez’s ceiling is right now. At the moment, I’d be willing to give up on Dominguez for no fault of his; Soto is a proven generational talent who’s only a few days away from turning 25. Not to mention he’s already elevated two teams to deep October runs. I understand the defensive/base-running concerns, but the last generational power hitting lefty the Yankees passed on - Bryce Harper - has been pretty solid so far. It’s close, but I’d say go for it. With that said, I’d probably prefer to wait until free agency rather than cut the Bombers’ farm depth right now, but Soto is so legit, I think it’s worth taking a swing for the fences on him.

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Andy Singer - Juan Soto is exactly the type of player we dream that Jasson Dominguez can one day become...of course, many talent evaluators said the same of Aaron Judge as a prospect by comparing him at the same age to Giancarlo Stanton...and we know how that one worked out. That said, Juan Soto is the exact type of left-handed bat that fits Yankee Stadium perfectly while getting on-base at a clip that is almost unheard of in the modern game. Offensively, even Soto's slumps keep him in the middle of a batting order. The Yankees should push incredibly hard to get Soto.


That doesn't mean he's flawless as a player, however. Soto has battled looking uninterested at times both in Washington and San Diego and his defense floats somewhere between below-average and atrocious. Soto should be a star at the plate through his early 30s at least, but he'll be a DH-only by his late-20s at this rate, and we know how well that plays in NY.


Soto is one of the most valuable players in the game, easily worth the presumed $30+ million per year he'll cost this season and beyond. Complicating his trade value, though, is the Padres' finances. Ownership there deserves credit for spending every cent they can muster to win, but the whispers are that their payroll to debt ratio is beyond MLB's guidelines, and they have to cut payroll this winter. That will severely impact the return the Padres can expect on the trade market this off-season. Don't believe me? Look back at the return the Red Sox got for Mookie Betts, who was at least Soto's equal in value.


Baseball Trade Values is a great site to play around with that does a decent job of approximating value, though I think it is low in Soto's case even considering the Padres' lack of leverage, and as much as the Mookie Betts trade is an instructive proxy for this situation, the Padres do not want to be remembered similarly. The Red Sox received an MLB-caliber starting outfielder, one former top prospect who had lost some shine, and a mid-level prospect lottery ticket. The Padres need controllable starting pitching, an outfielder to fill the hole losing Soto will create, and young talent.


Given the reality of the Padres leverage, Judge, Cole, and King are off-limits. I am also disinclined to include Volpe or Dominguez...HOWEVER, if including one of them is the last step to get the deal over the finish line, I'd do it.


My framework would look like this: SP Clarke Schmidt, OF Everson Pereira, SS/3B Trey Sweeney, OF Spencer Jones to the Padres for Juan Soto. Baseball Trade Values tells me that this is a very significant overpay, but I think it is a more realistic representation of fair value under the circumstances. If the Padres insisted on one of Volpe or Dominguez (Dominguez being far more likely), I'd remove Spencer Jones and Everson Pereira from the deal. This beats the Mookie Betts deal by a fair margin and likely outstrips the competition.

33 comentários


jjw49
17 de out. de 2023

Money isn't the issue NY could afford Soto if they want him bad enough but Yankees will not trade for Soto..... unless Soto tells Boras get me to NY and I'll sign an extension with Yankees then that could change the dynamics in acquiring him but given his agent and GM's involved highly unlikely this trade happens. I also don't believe SD has as much leverage as many believe. Would Yankees offer enough ... in the end I don't believe they will.

Curtir
Alan B.
Alan B.
17 de out. de 2023
Respondendo a

The Yankees have the pitching prospects to do the deal. Demanding Drew Thorpe, would be stupid on their part IMO. They know that might be the only pitching prospect they'd get in the deal. Clarke Schmidt would go in the deal.

Curtir

Cary Greene
Cary Greene
17 de out. de 2023

Hal Steinbrenner likely doesn't want to become a three time CBT offender. He has a chance to reset if allows the Yankees youth movement to gain traction, but the problem is, the Yankees are basically a last place team as constructed. It's really time for genuine change. Cashman should be moved into a different job and Boone should be moved to the YES booth if he were willing. These moves should have already been made and a better leader other than Hal Steinbrenner would have already done so. After changing the leadership and tearing down the Yankees analytics department and reshaping how the organization approaches roster building, by paying attention to what is commonly referred to as the Yankee way.


Curtir
fuster
18 de out. de 2023
Respondendo a

Duran was a 2B as a Yankee prospect, IIRC

and not a really good 2B. just a bat.

the team had no real need for another middle infielder.

Duran couldn't beat out Gleyber or DJ


using Duran to acquire Gallo was reasonable

Curtir

Mike Whiteman
17 de out. de 2023

Another reason to like Soto is that he has been a winner (2019 in Washington). Many of the recent Yankee pickups haven’t had much in the way of postseason experience. No coincidence that the Yanks haven’t had a ton of October success.


If they hang onto Gleyber, then a lineup with Judge, Soto, Gleyber, and Rizzo in the middle is a nice place to start.

Curtir
Cary Greene
Cary Greene
17 de out. de 2023
Respondendo a

Soto has a career .845 OPS in the postseason, which isn't too shabby, but by contrast, Bryce Harper has a 1.044, so for the $$ outlay, Soto isn't the real wrecking ball. If a team with championship aspirations is going to spend big on a key free agent, whichever key guys they go for need to be the types that rise to the occsaion.

Curtir

Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
17 de out. de 2023

As others have, I dispute the premise that Soto can be signed to an extension, so the question is merely academic, and the one-year rental price I'd pay would be one of the young infielders or Torres, plus Schmidt or King. Under no circumstances would I deal Dominguez. He has the make-up for New York and has no ceiling established yet. I wouldn't deal six years of Willie Mays at the start of his career for anyone not named Ruth or Cobb.

Curtir
yankeesblog
17 de out. de 2023
Respondendo a

Since Babe Ruth died when Mays was 17 years old and Ty Cobb was 64 when Mays reached the majors I'm guessing those deals would not turn out well.😀

Curtir

pmccc10601
17 de out. de 2023

Soto is due about 33 million in his last year of arbitration, and then Aaron Judge money. The Padres will get less of a haul of prospects then the Nationals got because of less years of team control.

Curtir
Alan B.
Alan B.
17 de out. de 2023
Respondendo a

And looking at the Padres, any deal will center around pitching, pitching, & more pitching, oh and an OF.

Curtir
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