Mock trades! Fun times. Do they mean anything? Not necessarily. More times than not, we're blindsided by deals we never even imagined happening. But, in the case of Juan Soto, all bets are off. We can predict every scenario under the sun until he's moved.
New York Yankees fans are eager for what's to come. A Soto addition this offseason feels all-important, which isn't exactly encouraging because a team with a bloated payroll shouldn't need one of the best players in the sport to save them from disaster, but here we are. And there's a realistic chance Soto is dealt. The path is clear for the Yankees to get something done if they want to be aggressive.
What's that package going to look like? The Athletic's Yankees beat writers (subscription required) think they have an idea, and if their insight is of any value to you, then there's no reason New York shouldn't be able to seal the deal by the end of the Winter Meetings if the Padres are willing to trade the star outfielder.
Of the four trades proposed in the article, Soto was obviously advertised first, and it featured a package of four players heading to San Diego in exchange for the lefty slugger. What's even better? The Yankees would clear three 40-man spots with this move.
Brendan Kuty pitched Clarke Schmidt, Everson Pereira, Randy Vásquez and Edgar Barclay (unprotected ahead of the Rule 5 Draft) for Soto, which, honestly, seems a bit light.
The Athletic's Yankees-Juan Soto trade package is a no-brainer for New York
We're not arguing, though. Do this right now if it's at all of interest to AJ Preller, a famously aggressive general manager with a tremendous knack for evaluating talent. No team is going to get its way in a deal for Soto, but there's a potential to limit the damage depending on what Preller wants.
Here, he gets a controllable starting pitcher in Schmidt who finally broke out in 2023. That's a required asset here. The Padres badly need cost-effective starting pitching, so it's either Schmidt or Michael King.
Next up, they get a talented outfield prospect who could, in theory, slip right in as the starting left fielder after Soto's departure. Though Pereira didn't impress in the Bronx during his brief late-season debut, no young player can be faulted for stumbling with the toxic 2023 Yankees. He's still highly regarded, as evidenced by his No. 3-ranking in the Yankees' farm system by MLB.com.
Kuty also threw in Nos. 14 and 28 prospects in Vásquez and Barclay. Vásquez made his MLB debut in 2023 and has made himself an asset, whether it's in the back end of the rotation or as a multi-inning relief option at the big-league level. Barclay reached Triple-A last season, and though it didn't go as well as the Yankees perhaps hoped, he's a promising left-handed option that's succeeded in a majority of his minor-league stops ever since getting drafted in 2019.
We'd argue this is perhaps too light a package, but again, if the framework is anything resembling this, the Yankees have an exciting advantage if they want to get more aggressive and sweeten the deal with another promising young hurler. That'll get everybody else out of the way in the negotiations.
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