We heard earlier this week that Juan Soto trade rumors will likely be getting fired up again this winter. While it initially sounded like the Mets would be taking a step back in 2024, the rumor mill begs to differ.
I mean, come on — the regular season isn’t even complete and Jeff Passan is already talking about how New York is a realistic trade partner for the San Diego Padres. ESPN’s resident MLB newsbreaker went on the Baseball is Dead podcast and said the following:
Jeff Passan on @baseballisdead_ Podcast:
“The Mets are a scary possibility for Juan Soto & I think the Mets probably are in a better position to offer prospects to go out & get him because I think Mets ownership has shown the aptitude & desire to sign guys like Soto long-term.”
— Mike Mayer (@mikemayer22) September 27, 2023
Well, this will certainly raise the eyebrows of Mets fans and everyone else around the league.
New York waved the white flag on the 2023 season at the trade deadline. It was disappointing to watch it all unfold within the span of a few days. But when the dust settled, it was crazy to see how many impact prospects general manager Billy Eppler added.
You’d think they’d want to hold onto as many of them as possible. If the right situation presents itself, though, New York now has the prospect capital to entice a potential trade partner and get a deal done.
The 2024 campaign will be Soto’s final season before hitting free agency. After earning $23 million in 2023, he could be in line to earn a $30 million salary next season. That wouldn’t be a problem for the Mets. What everyone else will be discussing is if they could retain the outfielder on a long-term deal.
Soto and his agent, Scott Boras, rejected a 15-year, $440 million extension offer from the Nationals before they traded him to San Diego in 2022. The 2025 season will be just his age-26 campaign. So, you know his camp will be looking for something in the $450-500 million range.
We’re obviously getting ahead of ourselves here. It’s not even definite that Soto will be put on the trade market this winter. However, San Diego wants to cut down on payroll. It seems like a near certainty that they’ll explore this possibility. Similar to the situation with Shohei Ohtani’s impending free agency, you’d have to think the Mets would at least see what it would take to get a deal done.