After a November packed with mixed messages, the stars seem to be aligning for a Juan Soto trade entering December. If the latest rumors are true, the Yankees cannot afford to get left behind.
As Jeff Passan noted last month, the Yankees, Mariners and Cubs could all be uniquely positioned to nab Soto if he ever became available, given their respective wealths of top-level pitching prospects and young MLB-ready arms. Passan specifically made sure to clarify that he didn't believe Seattle and Chicago would be willing to surrender the names necessary to close a deal, though, seemingly leaving the Yankees alone at the summit.
But, of course, the Padres have all the agency here. There's no trade without their go-ahead, and leadership in San Diego was understandably flummoxed by the tragic death of Peter Seidler, their guiding light from the ownership box. Do the Padres really want to shed $50-100 million in payroll? If so, a Soto trade is really the only reasonable solution (with Jake Cronenworth potentially attached). But are they willing to absorb a singular expensive Soto year rather than wave the white flag? AJ Preller doesn't surrender easily, which has led to plenty of mixed messages about the player's availability.
Except from Ken Rosenthal on Tuesday. Add the vaunted MLB insider to the club that believes Soto will unequivocally be traded when financial push comes to shove.
MLB Rumors: If Juan Soto is traded, Yankees must pounce
You know how you know things are getting serious? We're now beginning to receive the Soto pushback, as Rosenthal's fellow insider Jon Heyman balked at the potential acquisition cost on Tuesday as well.
Forget that the rent(al cost) is too damn high -- or is it? Didn't Mookie Betts go west -- attached to a cumbersome contract -- and the resulting package barely made a dent? Regardless, the Yankees need to be the ones waiting at the finish line to acquire an MVP candidate who's barely older than their September cameo catcher.
If Soto isn't actually as available as Rosenthal claims this winter, then the Yankees will have to regroup and plot their $400+ million package for next year's free agency. He's a can't-miss target in any offseason.
But if San Diego wants to give somebody, anybody, a head start on the proceedings, it could be franchise changing-ly silly not to give prime Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole a perfect running mate before they begin to age into different roles (and before Cole triggers his opt-out and forces Hal's hand).