Juan Soto is a name the baseball world will be salivating over if he becomes available in trade discussions this offseason. The San Diego Padres, much like the New York Mets, had an incredibly disappointing 2023 season despite a monstrous payroll and are looking to not only revamp the roster for 2024, but attempt to do so while shedding some money.
With Soto set to make around or over $30 million in his final year of arbitration before certainly departing in free agency, an offseason trade could be the Padres last chance to get anything for one of the premier hitters in the game. It won't be close to the value that they gave up to acquire him in the first place, but the Padres will absolutely get meaningful assets for Soto if they decide to deal him.
In this Bleacher Report article from Zachary D. Rymer, he outlines eight realistic trades that could happen this offseason. The Mets are part of two trades in this article but are not the team Rymer has acquiring Soto. Instead, he has Soto headed across town to the New York Yankees in a deal that sends top prospects Spencer Jones and Chase Hampton to San Diego. It's a steep price to pay for a rental, but one the Mets should look to match or top.
Trading for Juan Soto is a no-brainer for the NY Mets
The package Rymer has the Yankees giving San Diego is their top prospect according to MLB Pipeline Spencer Jones, and Hampton is ranked fourth. Jones, an outfielder, is ranked 73rd on MLB Pipeline's top 100 list while Hampton, a starting pitcher, is 95th. It's expensive, but not difficult for the Mets to match thanks to their revamped farm system.
In this deal, the Mets acquire Juan Soto to provide the punch to the lineup they need, and give up three prospects. Drew Gilbert is obviously the headliner here. Acquired in the Justin Verlander trade, Gilbert is the Mets' number two prospect and is ranked 52nd on the Top 100 list. He's closer to the majors than Jones and could be an everyday center fielder sometime late next season if he continues to progress offensively.
While Chase Hampton is higher-ranked than Mike Vasil, he's made just 11 starts in AA while Vasil made 16 for AAA Syracuse. He was a guy Mets fans wanted to see in September and could even push for a rotation spot early next season if not directly out of Spring Training. With the Padres looking for impact now, they could value him more.
Justin Jarvis was acquired in the Mark Canha deal at the deadline and can be one more sweetener to get the deal over the top. He's had his struggles in AAA but can potentially make an impact in the bullpen for San Diego next season. He's the 15th-ranked Mets prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
This is certainly a lot to give up for a rental, but there's every reason to believe Soto would remain a Met long-term if they made a trade for him. An extension right away would be unlikely, but we saw a Scott Boras client, Brandon Nimmo, remain with the Mets last offseason after hitting free agency. Steve Cohen has the financial means to top any offer out there, so as long as Soto wants New York and the Mets want him, it'd happen.
It's never fun to trade prospects, but when you can land a 25-year-old Juan Soto you simply have to do it.