Which Teams Have The Prospect Talent To Acquire Juan Soto

Image credit: Juan Soto (Michael Reaves/Getty)

The Nationals are reportedly open to trading outfielder Juan Soto after he turned down a $440 million extension, which means teams across baseball now have the rare opportunity to acquire one of baseball’s best young players for multiple seasons.

Soto, 23, is not scheduled to be a free agent until after the 2024 season. He is a career .293/.427/.541 hitter, already owns a World Series ring and has led the majors in on-base percentage the last two seasons.

Acquiring a player of Soto’s magnitude—with multiple seasons of control—won’t come cheaply. As much as every team would relish the opportunity to acquire him, only a few actually have the young talent to do so.

Here is a look at which teams have the young major leaguers and prospects necessary to actually pull off a trade for Soto. Please note, this is strictly a look at which teams have the talent to make a deal. For purposes of this exercise, payroll resources and other factors are secondary considerations.

1. Dodgers

The Dodgers have arguably the deepest farm system in baseball and can match any price. They have seven Top 100 Prospects in C Diego Cartaya, RHP Bobby Miller, 3B Miguel Vargas, 2B Michael Busch, RHP Ryan Pepiot, RHP Gavin Stone and OF Andy Pages and, most importantly for a Nats team looking to rebuild quickly, all of them are at Double-A or above. The Dodgers have a deep well of talented players in the lower levels below them that can serve as complementary trade pieces, and they also have young, controllable big leaguers like 2B/OF Gavin Lux and RHP Brusdar Graterol. If the Dodgers are so inclined, they can blow any other team’s offer out of the water with room to spare.

2. Guardians

The Guardians are the only team that can compete with the Dodgers for the title of deepest farm system in baseball. They have six Top 100 Prospects in RHP Daniel Espino, OF George Valera, RHP Gavin Williams, C Bo Naylor, SS Brayan Rocchio and LHP Logan Allen in addition to a plethora of talent spread evenly across all levels of the minors. Add in a base of blossoming young major leaguers to choose from, including 1B Josh Naylor, 2B Andres Gimenez, SS Amed Rosario, OF Steven Kwan and OF Oscar Gonzalez, and the Guardians have multiple combinations they can put together to create an appealing package for Soto. Of course, the Guardians have been in cost-cutting mode for years and it’s not in their nature to make a big deadline trade splash for a veteran. But strictly from a talent standpoint, they have the ability to put together a stronger package than almost any other team.

3. Cardinals

The Cardinals have used their farm system to acquire superstars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado in recent years and have the resources to acquire yet another franchise talent. The Cardinals have seven Top 100 Prospects in 3B Jordan Walker, LHP Matthew Liberatore, SS Masyn Winn, OF Alec Burleson, RHP Gordon Graceffo, C Ivan Herrera and RHP Tink Hence, plus another player just off the Top 100 in RHP Michael McGreevy. Add in the best rookie class in the National League in 2B Nolan Gorman, UTL Brendan Donovan and 1B/OF Juan Yepez they can pull from, and the Cardinals have the mix of young big leaguers and prospects to pull off a deal and still have talent left over.

4. Padres

The Padres farm system isn’t as deep as the Dodgers, Guardians and Cardinals after years of dealing prospects for veterans, but they have enough left over to pull off a potential deal for Soto. SS CJ Abrams, OF Robert Hassell, C Luis Campusano, OF James Wood and SS Jackson Merrill are all Top 100 Prospects, and RHP Jarlin Susana headlines an intriguing group of young pitchers in the lower levels of the system. The Padres would understandably be reluctant to deal controllable young big leaguers like 2B Jake Cronenworth or LHP MacKenzie Gore, but in theory, they could package one of them with top prospects to put together an offer strong enough for Soto.

5. Blue Jays

The Blue Jays don’t quite have the pure prospect talent to pull off a trade for Soto, but they can make it work if they’re willing to include one or more of their young big leaguers. C Gabriel Moreno and LHP Ricky Tiedemann are both Top 100 Prospects, with SS Jordan Groshans, SS Orelvis Martinez and RHP Yosver Zulueta not far off. Beyond them, the Blue Jays have a deep well of interesting low-level infielders and intriguing righthanded pitchers in their farm system that could serve as complementary pieces in a deal. In order to match what other teams can offer though, the Blue Jays would likely have to include one of C Alejandro Kirk, RHP Alek Manoah or SS Bo Bichette from their big league team, which they are extremely unlikely to do. From a pure talent standpoint, however, they have the players in house to make an enticing offer.

6. Mariners

The surging Mariners have some of the best young talent in the majors and could use it to headline a package to acquire Soto if they decided to be aggressive. OF Julio Rodriguez isn’t going anywhere, but one of RHPs George Kirby or Logan Gilbert would likely have to be included in any package for Soto. From there, the Mariners could pull together multiple combinations from a farm system that includes talented young shortstops Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo and a wealth of young righthanders including Matt Brash, Emerson Hancock, Taylor Dollard and Bryce Miller. A package of prospects alone wouldn’t be enough to grab Soto, but in the unlikely event the Mariners decided to include one of their young starters, they could do it.

7. Mets

The odds of the Nationals trading Soto within the division are slim, but from a talent standpoint, the Mets have the resources to do it. C Francisco Alvarez, 3B Brett Baty and OF Alex Ramirez are all Top 100 Prospects, while SS Ronny Mauricio and 1B Mark Vientos have plenty of prospect pedigree and continue to hold appeal for opposing clubs. The depth of the Mets farm system is poor, which affects their ability to offer complementary prospects equal to what other teams can dangle, but a package around Alvarez, Baty and/or Ramirez makes for an interesting start. Including cost-controlled young big leaguers like LHP David Peterson and/or 1B Dominic Smith would help them better compete with what other teams can offer, although in the case of Peterson, doing so would damage their starting rotation.

8. Orioles

Realistically, this won’t happen. The Nationals trading Soto to the Orioles would be a PR disaster for the club, and the Orioles aren’t quite ready to make such an aggressive win-now move yet despite their recent success. Strictly from a talent standpoint, however, the Orioles have the players to pull it off. Between blossoming young big leaguers C Adley Rutschman, 1B Ryan Mountcastle, OF Austin Hays and RHP Tyler Wells and a talented farm system headlined by  RHP Grayson Rodriguez, SS Gunnar Henderson, LHP D.L. Hall and 3B Jordan Westburg, the Orioles can put together a package as enticing as almost any other team. Again though, the odds of this happening are about the same as the teams’ long-running MASN lawsuit ending amicably.

9. Marlins

Again, the Nationals are highly unlikely to trade Soto within the division, and the Marlins aren’t the type of team to make such an enormous splash. From a pure talent standpoint, however, the Marlins can offer the Nationals the most valuable commodity in the game—young pitching—at a level no other team can. RHP Sandy Alcantara isn’t going anywhere, but RHP Pablo Lopez and LHPs Trevor Rogers and Braxton Garrett are three talented young starters with proven big league success. Add in a farm system featuring RHPs Eury Perez, Max Meyer and Edward Cabrera and recovering LHP Jake Eder, and the Marlins have the personnel to put together an overwhelming offer centered around arms to land Soto.

10. Yankees

This would be a stretch, but the Yankees could pull it off if they’re willing to deal their very best prospects. SS Anthony Volpe would have to be included in any deal, with some combination of SS Oswald Peraza, LHP Ken Waldichuk, RHP Hayden Wesneski, OF Everson Pereira and OF Jasson Dominguez used to lead a package of secondary prospects. That wouldn’t match what the Dodgers, Guardians, Cardinals, Padres, Mets or others could potentially offer, but if those teams get gun-shy about dealing their top prospects, the Yankees have enough talent to make things interesting. 2B Gleyber Torres is their only cost-controlled young big leaguer that could possibly be included to spice up the offer, but dealing him would negatively affect their team.

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