MLB Insider: Grading the likelihood Juan Soto, Dylan Cease, Bo Bichette are traded this offseason

San Diego Padres v Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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While there have been an assortment of signings, including two high-profile pitchers in Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray, the MLB free-agent market has not seen many names come off the board.

Some of that can be attributed to Shohei Ohtani, the two-way superstar free agent who has the attention of seemingly every big market team. Some of that can also be attributed to the abundance of players represented by Scott Boras, who moves slowly in free agency as he prefers his players to establish their values on the open market. Some of that can also be attributed to a weak free-agent hitter class that has teams aggressively pursuing top pitching options.

That’s also led to other players, particularly high-profile players, being asked about via trade. Here are the chances some of those players are moved this offseason.

Juan Soto

I want to make one thing clear: The Padres are not shopping Juan Soto. They don’t have to trade him. But considering the amount of interest league-wide in Soto, and what the Padres can do with the money saved by trading Soto, I expect him to be traded this winter.

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 is projected to earn $33 million in arbitration in 2024. If the Padres do trade him, it’s entirely possible that the team invests that money right back into the team to upgrade other parts of its roster. It would give the team, and general manager A.J. Preller, a lot of flexibility to navigate the offseason and even the trade deadline to put a winning team on the field this season and in future seasons.

A trade is not a guarantee. Moving a player of Soto’s caliber is always a complicated process, so I would not expect a trade in the near future. But a trade sending Soto out of San Diego looks like a very real possibility.

Odds: 70%