The Juan Soto Sweepstakes is coming down to the wire with the 2022 MLB trade deadline set for 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday. As teams make their final offers to the Washington Nationals, the Los Angeles Dodgers are a strong contender to acquire the superstar.
The San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals have been considered to be the most likely destinations for Soto. The Dodgers can’t be counted out, however, according to the latest reports.
CBS Sports’ Jim Bowden reported Sunday that the race to land Soto is down to the Padres, Cardinals and Dodgers. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Los Angeles has been much more aggressive recently in their trade proposals. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal noted Monday that the Dodgers have a chance to trade for Soto if the Padres are unwilling to meet the Nationals’ asking price.
While the #Padres and #STLCards have been considered the front-runners for Juan Soto, the #Dodgers have been much more aggressive of late in their trade proposals.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 1, 2022
One of the Dodgers’ rivals told The New York Post that Los Angeles has more resources than anyone in pursuing Soto. Young infielder Gavin Lux and pitcher Dustin May could intrigue Washington in trade talks. Infielder Michael Busch is the No. 40 ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, and he has an .831 OPS in 60 games for the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.
Year after year, the Dodgers have traded for superstar players in pursuit of a championship. Los Angeles acquired Max Scherzer and Trea Turner at the 2021 trade deadline. The Dodgers landed Manny Machado at the 2018 trade deadline on their way to a World Series appearance. L.A. traded for Mookie Betts before the 2020 season, and the club made a splash by signing Freddie Freeman this past offseason.
The Dodgers enter August with an MLB-best 68-33 record. Los Angeles is running away with the NL West, leading San Diego by 12 games. The New York Mets are Los Angeles’ biggest threat in the National League, trailing the Dodgers by four games for the No. 1 seed.
A trade for Soto would not simply help Los Angeles this season. Soto is signed through the 2024 season and could contribute to multiple championship runs. The Dodgers have MLB’s highest payroll and can afford to give Soto the record-breaking contract that he wants.
Washington put Soto on the trade block when the outfielder rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract extension. If the Nationals don’t get the offer that they are seeking, the team will likely hold onto Soto and revisit potential trades this winter.
Following a slow start to the season by his standards, Soto hit .315/.495/.616 with 13 home runs in July.