Rays’ most random trade deadline add outplaying Juan Soto is Yankees’ nightmare


Phew, good news! Despite lingering on the fringes of the conversation because of their ability to assemble a dynamite prospect package, the Tampa Bay Rays didn’t trade for Juan Soto on Aug. 2, just like they didn’t sign Freddie Freeman out of the Yankees’ clutches this offseason (and the Yankees, uh, didn’t sign him either).

The San Diego Padres ultimately pulled the trigger, surrendering an impressive prospect haul in exchange for Soto. It was also … definitely the kind of haul you do surrender when the opportunity presents itself, though.

The Rays? They instead traded for David Peralta of the D-Backs (someone we’d targeted for the Yankees), Dodgers reliever Garrett Cleavinger (OK, then), and center fielder Jose Siri, their bounty for helping to facilitate the Astros’ Trey Mancini acquisition.

Did it work? Cleavinger has a 3.38 ERA in 5.1 innings of work and secured the win over the Red Sox Tuesday night. Peralta is hitting .284 with a 118 OPS+ in 26 games with the Rays, aligned with his work with the D-Backs (where he wasn’t aligned with the youth movement).

Siri? He’s been spectacular defensively, decent offensively (109 OPS+ overall in Tampa), and has been wiping the floor with Soto for the past 17 games. Almost makes you want to become the Joker. Almost! Should we do it? No. Unless…?

Why is Jose Siri out-hitting Juan Soto for Rays and tormenting Yankees?

HahahahahahahAHAHAHA! Haha.

Prior to his stint with the Rays, Siri was already a classic diamond in the rough, ranking in the 100th percentile in sprint speed and 97th in Outs Above Average prior to the acquisition. It was easy to see the young outfielder prospering on the team that somehow allows all young outfielders to prosper, turning Randy Arozarena into the best hitter in postseason history and morphing Manuel Margot into a fire-breathing slugger after he was a banjo-hitting Padre. It’s all in the beard.

But out-hitting Juan Soto?! This rare combination of Rays Magic and Padres Disaster Dust has created a worst-case scenario outcome, and the Yankees are squarely in the middle of it. Hitting isn’t even what Siri does! It isn’t even the point of him!

Were the Rays ever a real threat for Soto? It’s easy to doubt it — especially because this organization knows they can always turn Siri and two random prospects into “Soto in the aggregate,” as Moneyball’s Billy Beane likes to say.

The Yankees are even bigger losers than the Padres here, though. At least the Padres have Juan Soto! He’ll turn into Juan Soto again someday soon, while the Yanks are left battling it out with Siri as their deadline outfield addition, Andrew Benintendi, heals from a broken bone he didn’t even know he had.

Siri’s under team control through 2027. Alexa, please set a reminder to pop champagne five years from now?