Juan Soto is the most intriguing trade deadline target that baseball has seen in quite some time. At only 23 years old, Soto is a generational talent who still has two more years of team control and is younger than most top prospects. It is safe to say that the Los Angeles Dodgers are interested and will do their due diligence.
The Dodgers are not the only team that is interested, as every team with some kind of prospect capital to trade will be in the market. The price is going to be steep, though, with the Dodgers needing to pay a pretty penny to bring Soto to Los Angeles.
A potential competitor for Soto is also in the NL West in the San Diego Padres. Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been very aggressive over the last few years, and the Padres have the combination of prospects and young MLB talent to get the deal done.
However, one of those trade chips may no longer interest the Washington Nationals, as young southpaw MacKenzie Gore was removed from Monday’s loss to the Detroit Tigers with elbow soreness. San Diego has been one of the worst teams in the league in handling injuries in recent years, and this is concerning for Padres fans who want to see Soto in San Diego.
Even worse is the fact that this could have been avoided if not for a silly fielding error by first baseman Eric Hosmer. Hosmer botched a routine backhander at first base to start the second inning, which started a snowball process for starter Sean Manaea. Detroit ended up scoring five runs in this third inning, fueled by a grand slam that otherwise would not have happened.
This forced Manaea out of the game early, paving the way for Gore to come in and tweak his elbow. Padres fans are already diving headfirst down this rabbit hole to directly blame Hosmer for this injury and a potential Soto trade.
Even with Mackenzie Gore, the Los Angeles Dodgers can send a better trade package.
While the Padres do have a good farm system and Gore would be an intriguing trade chip, the Dodgers have the better “best offer” for Soto in their arsenal. Gore having these question marks around his elbow only strengthen the Dodgers’ lead in terms of the best package they can send.
Los Angeles has six players in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects, another extremely fast riser who will soon be in the top 100 in Gavin Stone, as well as a red-hot Gavin Lux, who is starting to put it together at the right time.
Heck, Dustin May is even a potential trade chip that the Dodgers could send for Soto. While May is coming off of Tommy John, he is already to the rehab start portion of his recovery, so there are far fewer question marks around him.
The Dodgers outbid the Padres for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner last season, and it would not be totally surprising if they once again outbid their division rivals for another Nationals superstar.
It ultimately comes down to whether or not the Dodgers want to break the bank for Soto because they certainly can make a trade happen if they want to.