5 blockbuster trades that could happen at the MLB Winter Meetings

The MLB Winter Meetings begin Monday, Dec. 6 in Nashville. Several stars are on the trade radar.

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
Alex Bregman, Houston Astros / Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
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The Padres could shake the MLB's foundation by trading Juan Soto

The true superstar circling the trade rumor mill lately has been San Diego Padres slugger Juan Soto. While the Padres are "not shopping" Soto actively, per FanSided's Robert Murray, the odds of a trade land around 70 percent because of the potential financial benefits for San Diego.

Last season was a difficult one for the Padres, who fielded one of the MLB's highest payrolls, only to finish the season two games above .500 and in need of a $50 million loan to cover salaries. Since the Padres can't rely on the current iteration of the team to contend, a trade or two is inevitable. It's only a matter of whether or not Soto is part of those deals.

There is an understanding that San Diego loves Soto and would love to keep him around, but the 25-year-old is eligible to hit free agency after the 2024 season. He will demand a significant contract on the open market, and there's no guarantee he would stick around in San Diego. Especially if the Padres can't reach contention. That, combined with the robust trade packages the Padres might receive in return, could facilitate Soto's exit as soon as next week's meetings in Nashville.

Here's what San Diego can expect in a trade, per Murray.

"If the Padres do trade Soto, they will not get a package similar to the six-player haul they surrendered to acquire him from the Washington Nationals. But a full season of Soto is incredibly valuable, and should net the Padres at least two top prospects and possibly more."

Soto has been connected to several contenders, with the New York Yankees standing out as an obvious frontrunner. He was an absolute monster for the Padres last season, appearing in all 162 games (708 plate appearances) and slashing .275/.410/.519 with 35 home runs and 109 RBIs. That durability, efficiency, and explosiveness will make him priority No. 1 for a lot of teams, especially if Ohtani comes off the board sooner than later.

Next. 3 Juan Soto trade destinations that meet all of his wish list items. 3 Juan Soto trade destinations that meet all of his wish list items. dark