The St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres both need Juan Soto … but the Padres have the edge.
There are 29 teams that would love to trade for Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto but there are only a few teams that have the prospects that can get Soto. Two of them are the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres.
Both teams are seemingly finalists in the Juan Soto sweepstakes but the Padres have the edge over the Cardinals for a few reasons.
The Padres have the edge over the Cardinals for Juan Soto
The San Diego Padres likely have the edge over the St. Louis Cardinals in the Juan Soto sweepstakes for a few reasons.
First and foremost, the Cardinals have a lot of young outfielders. Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, and Dylan Carlson have had down years and/or have had some injuries in 2022 but the Cardinals view those three are core pieces for their future. The Padres, meanwhile, do not have a great outfield. Wil Myers has been injured and has had a disappointing season. Trent Grisham has struggled offensively and both Nomar Mazara (.154 batting average in his last 11 games) and Jurickson Profar (.195 average in his last 23 games) have struggled offensively as of late.
Secondly, the Cardinals need to address their starting pitching. They have only had four starting pitchers with at least 10 starts on the season. One of those is on the IL and another was just activated off the IL on Saturday (Dakota Hudson). The Padres have a lot of depth in their rotation and need to address their outfield more than anything else.
Additionally, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic notes the Cardinals don’t have the past history of showing that they could pay Soto $500 million for an extension. “And while the Cardinals certainly could afford Soto’s arbitration salaries in 2023 and 2024, their history suggests they would not pay the $500 million plus that Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, is respected to seek if the outfielder hits the open market,” Rosenthal said.
They have a good payroll and have a lot of big contracts on the books … but nothing close to what Soto will demand.
In the next two years, Wil Myers, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Drew Pomeranz, and others will have their large salaries come off the payroll but they will still have a good core there in Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr.
While a deal may not happen before the deadline, if it does, the Padres should be viewed as the frontrunners in the Juan Soto sweepstakes at this point over the Cardinals as we near the trade deadline on Tuesday.