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Juan Soto rumors: Yankees, Padres talking players, still not close to a deal

New York continues to have Soto very, very high on its offseason wishlist.

Juan Soto of the San Diego Padres looks on against the St. Louis Cardinals at PETCO Park on September 24, 2023 in San Diego, California. Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images

The New York Yankees have plenty of offseason work to do as they attempt to rebound from missing the playoffs for the first time since 2016. But first on that list is revamping an offense that was among the most punchless in the league, especially after Aaron Judge got hurt. This is a pretty mediocre market for position-player talent, but one name in particular stands out: Padres outfielder Juan Soto, who certainly seems to be on the trading block as San Diego looks to shed payroll.

Soto also just happens to be a perfect fit for New York’s needs as a lefty-swinging outfielder, and it’s no surprise that team and player have been linked since before the 2023 season even ended. We still have a ways to go as Padres GM A.J. Preller decides 1) whether he really does want to deal a 25-year-old superstar and 2) how much he can get in return, but the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman seem to be one of the most aggressive early suitors. The latest update on the Soto sweepstakes comes via SNY’s Andy Martino, who reports that New York and San Diego have progressed far enough in trade talks that they’re exchanging names of players to include in a potential deal:

Talks between the Yankees and the San Diego Padres about a Juan Soto trade have progressed to the point of exchanging names on players, league sources say. San Diego’s initial ask was very high — understandably so — and the teams are not close to an agreement.

Martino does make a point to emphasize that the two sides are very far apart, as you’d expect before the calendar even flips to December — there’s no reason for Preller to rush such a monumental decision, and his asking price figures to start at something around “astronomical”. There’s no word yet on what players have been exchanged in talks, but San Diego figures to be interested in a top outfield prospect like Jasson Dominguez as well as young pitching like Clarke Schmidt, Michael King and any of a number of New York’s high-Minors arms.

It’ll be interesting to see how this game of chicken plays out, and how Soto’s market develops if the Padres do indeed decide to trade him — which would be by far the cleanest way to shed the payroll they’re looking to shed this winter. Soto has only one year of team control remaining and will absolutely want to hit the market as a free agent next offseason, which could dampen the return somewhat. Still, he’s Juan freaking Soto, and even a year of his services figures to fetch a premium (especially for a team like the Yankees, with a fan base and front office desperate to win big next season).