A year after the New York Mets have added Shohei Ohtani to the roster via free agency for some ridiculous money (or not), Juan Soto will hit the open market. Barring a contract extension prior, the current San Diego Padres outfielder is bound to headline many of the MLB rumors of the hot stove season.
Soto has been a player Mets fans have pondered about coming to Queens ever since Steve Cohen took over. He’d be the splashy kind of addition for the Mets to make if they did miss out on Ohtani.
However, it’s not the Mets who Jon Heyman named as a fit for Soto. Heyman sees the rival Philadelphia Phillies as a possible destination for Soto instead.
Way too early MLB rumors have named the Phillies over the Mets as a landing spot for Juan Soto in free agency
We’re not so concerned about the 2025 Mets nor are we worried at all what the 2025 Phillies will look like. The Mets need to make a final stand for the 2023 season. Then the focus turns to 2024.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the idea of Soto returning to the NL East only to land with the Phillies. They’ve been unafraid to spend big in free agency, even snagging some ex-Mets along the way. Soto’s return to the NL East could really only have three reasonable destinations. He’s not going to go back to the Washington Nationals. The Miami Marlins won’t be a factor. It’s the Mets, Phillies, or Atlanta Braves who could make the kind of bid to bring the young superstar outfielder back to the division.
The Soto connection to Philadelphia is an obvious one. They’ve added plenty of former Nationals (Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner) and the presence of hitting coach Kevin Long who Soto got to know in Washington could help a bit, too. Add in all of the money the Phillies will have coming off the books in the coming years along with the love affair Dave Dombrowski has with signing big-time players, we can see why Heyman sees the Phillies as a place for Soto to land.
The Mets don’t have those same connections, but what does it matter anyway? Kevin Long working for the Phillies isn’t much different than the Mets having Billy Eppler in the front office to help attract Ohtani. In the end, it’s money and opportunity to win (probably in that order) which will lead to where this pair of players end up.
If it’s the Phillies for Soto, it needs to be Ohtani for the Mets.