Conflicting Yankees-Padres Juan Soto trade rumor emerges with key caveat

So ... what is it?

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks / Norm Hall/GettyImages

About a day after SNY's Andy Martino reported the New York Yankees had preliminary trade conversations surrounding Juan Soto with the San Diego Padres, Jon Heyman of the New York Post popped in to foster a bit of back-and-forth on the speculation.

Heyman says the Yankees have not spoken to the Pads about a deal for Soto since this year's trade deadline. Can you even believe that?! Once upon a time Brian Cashman almost upgraded the disintegrating 2023 roster with a massive blockbuster.

Who's going to win the battle of the reports? Time will tell. But ... we must say, the Yankees contacting AJ Preller and the Padres about a Soto deal isn't exactly "news." It's what should be. A constant in the universe, if you will. That's why we initially felt Martino's report was more lip service than anything.

Heyman swooping in to deny it also doesn't change the perspective of Yankees fans. They didn't reach out yet? OK, no surprise ... but they will eventually, right?

Perhaps the preliminary conversation did or didn't happen based on a particular revelation from Heyman, who noted the Padres are looking to clear $50 million from their payroll this offseason. Soto will account for $30 million, meaning the Yankees or another team could sweeten the deal by offering to eat an additional $20 million.

Conflicting Yankees-Padres Juan Soto trade rumor emerges with key caveat

Yanks Go Yard already talked about who that might include, should New York offer to do so. Jake Cronenworth and Matt Carpenter are the top options, with the two combining to earn ~$13 million in 2024. Others include pitchers Seth Lugo ($7.5 million player option), Michael Wacha ($16 million team option, $6.5 million mutual option) and Nick Martinez ($16 million player option, $8 million team option).

The Yankees desperately need pitching, so any of those names sound relatively appealing. If taking one of those contracts limits the prospect haul going in return to San Diego, then all the better. Cashman could then have one less to-do item on his free agency checklist. Every bit helps.

That throws another potential wrench into Martino's report, which mentioned Anthony Rizzo as a possible piece heading back to San Diego in a hypothetical Soto trade. If the Padres are trying to clear payroll, Rizzo's $17 million salary (and $6 million buyout for 2024) don't exactly align with those plans. So we have a good old fashioned reporting standoff here!

Fans want to hear the Yankees are involved, though, so anything that acts as a confirmation of their desires will dominate the discourse. If reports out of Chicago are expecting the Cubs to be in the mix, then there's no question New York needs to be at the front of the line if that's their competition.

May the best man win the battle of reports, and may the smartest team win the pending Soto Sweepstakes.