Baseball America predicts Dodgers could be shocking favorite for Juan Soto trade

It sounds crazy, but maybe it's not?
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

We don't use "shocking" lightly. During Summer 2022? Of course! Juan Soto to the Dodgers was basically a fait accompli at the All-Star break before the Padres stepped in and mucked everything up.

But during Winter 2024? Now that the Padres are walking a difficult tightrope between cutting payroll and throwing in the towel? They have no interest in waving the white flag, but the most likely direction for them to wave said flag is the most embarrassing possible location: Los Angeles, which would represent a complete rivalry failure?

It feels absurd, but Baseball America recently projected the Dodgers as the No. 1 landing spot for Soto this offseason, mostly on the strength of the potential prospect packages they can put together.

While it's unequivocally true LA can probably offer the most if San Diego wants upper-level pitching in exchange for one year of Soto, it's highly doubtful (think logically) that AJ Preller pulls this particular trigger. Add in the Scott Boras of it all and the low likelihood of the Dodgers signing Soto or any of his clients next offseason, and you've got a tough-to-parse hypothetical all around.

Ok...heard you...fine, though...what would a Dodgers-Juan Soto trade package look like?

You really want to do this? Really? Alright, fine. Let's crack some codes.

For just one year of Soto, the return will look relatively light. It'll be even easier for the Dodgers to stomach surrendering such a package, considering this won't even make a dent in their pitching depth. What about:

RHP Gavin Stone, RHP River Ryan, RHP Kyle Hurt, RHP Jesus Tillero

That represents four of MLB Pipeline's Top 30 prospects, highlighted by No. 5. It also consists of four pitching prospects, two of whom have already broached the MLB level, and one of whom has been projected as a Triple-A arm to open the season. If the Dodgers were willing to take on a contract like Jake Cronenworth's, drop Stone from the package and move forward.

But ... why are we even entertaining this? The Dodgers would do it in a heartbeat, and it would leave the Padres cold and emasculated. That's enough reason to assume it won't, and can't, go down.