Quick Bit: It’s more than just a trade partner — it’s a fit. Here’s where Soto would fit best this year.

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So long, Soto?

Juan Soto’s name has been attached to trade rumors since reports that he turned down a massive, 15-year, $440 million contract extension from Washington in early July. So, to whom is he going?

Recent reports peg as many as six teams in on Soto’s services: The Yankees, Mets, Cardinals, Mariners, Padres and Dodgers all could be in the running for the 23-year-old.

Needless to say, Soto is a unique talent, and putting together a trade for him will be even more unique. Not everyone has the trade capital, and fewer likely have it in their budget to keep him around for beyond 2024 — that is, if Soto decides to test the free agent market.

MORE: Juan Soto trade rumors, updates, details

Ultimately, the rumored teams involved in the Soto sweepstakes are in very similar positions, and the aspects dividing them are razor thin. Based on team fit, trade-partner fit and contendership, Here’s how they rank out:

Juan Soto landing spots

1. Yankees

There are a few reasons why New York (the AL side) is the best fit for both sides.

— The Yankees have a top-10 ranked farm systems, with several prospects a step or two away from making the majors. Headlined by shortstops Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, the Yankees would have to throw in more, if recent reports are to be believed, to acquire Soto.

— There’s a question as to whether or not Aaron Judge will be a long-term Yankee beyond 2022. A trade for Soto would help fill the 6-7 void left by Judge in free agency if he does walk. It also would give the Yankees more time to work out something long-term with the younger Soto, too. But, for the rest of the season, an outfield trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Judge and Soto would be the best in baseball, and give them some more lefty pop, too.

— A recent report says that the Nationals would likely target prospects and younger players with controllable deals. A player like Gleyber Torres might be interest to Washington, considering he’s controllable and productive. There’s also the looming question of Miguel Andujar: The 2018 Rookie of the Year runner-up requested a trade, and he’s under team control for two more seasons.

MORE: Juan Soto and 19 others who are MLB’s top trade deadline targets

2. Mets

Strange bedfellows, indeed.

A trade between NL East rivals seems farfetched, but the Mets are more like a 1A than a No. 2 to the Yankees here (and pretty much everyone else that follows). The Mets have prospects that would make sense, too, likely starting with top prospects Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio.

Dominic Smith is another player under team control for the next two seasons, and has been itching for a new team after not getting consistent playing time from the Meets.

The Mets also have the benefit of having an owner who’s got deep pockets: In addition to any package the Mets might give up, they also have an owner with deep pockets, so a contract extension wouldn’t be out of the cards.

The Mets have been here before, in fact, very recently, with the Francisco Lindor trade. There should be no hesitance to add another superstar in Soto, no matter what the cost. And they have the pieces to get it done.

MORE: Why Mets fans shouldn’t be too upset with any potential Soto deal

3. Dodgers

The Dodgers are always in a position to wheel and deal, thanks to their incredibly deep farm system, which is still among the best in baseball.

Los Angeles still has six of MLB’s top 100 prospects per MLB Pipeline. The challenge would be determining which MLB-ready talent to send to Washington in this situation: Gavin Lux is having a breakout season and is entrenched as the team’s everyday second baseman, so would the Dodgers break up

Still, part of Los Angeles’ success in recent years was their extreme versatility. An outfield trio of Cody Bellinger-Mookie Betts-Juan Soto would be fun to watch.

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4. Cardinals

The Cardinals seem to always be in on superstar players that hit the market, so the recent report that they could be front-runner for Soto’s services is unsurprising.

St. Louis has been searching for a thumping outfielder for quite some time — consider they were a rumored destination for Giancarlo Stanton in 2018 — and plugging in Soto to that outfield would help immensely.

But, the question is the price here: The Cardinals would probably ship out any of their current major-league outfielders — Dylan Carlson, Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neill — but is that enticing enough? Would a name like Nolan Gorman be involved?

The Cardinals have one of the best farm systems in baseball, so trading any of their top prospects — of which they have five of MLB Pipeline’s top 100 — would go with that, depending on what Washington is looking for.

It feels like St. Louis’ current roster is a little bit more thin than the others on this list, so a trade for Soto, while beneficial overall, would still feel like something of a mismatch.

MORE: How recent MLB blockbuster deals have fared with Juan Soto set to move on

5. Padres

Much like the Mets and Cardinals, the Padres could certainly use some outfield oomph.

What separates San Diego from the above teams is that their farm system isn’t quite what it was a few years ago, thanks to some graduations and trades over the last few seasons.

While it remains to be seen exactly what the Padres would give up in a deal for Soto. They don’t exactly have young position players outside of Fernando Tatis Jr. — and C.J. Abrams.

Abrams, 21, has been rumored to be included in trades recently, and would be a young, heralded position player that would fit what Washington is looking for. A deal centered around him would make sense, but the rest of what San Diego might have to offer isn’t exactly as enticing as the rest of the teams above them.

MORE: Juan Soto says ‘you don’t know what to trust’ amid uncertain future

6. Mariners

While Seattle’s been a very fun story this year, it still doesn’t feel like they’re ready for contention just yet.

Soto under team control for another season means that they wouldn’t have to worry about winning a title this year. Former top prospect Jarred Kelenic has struggled in the majors, but seems to have turned it around at Triple-A this year. Maybe that’s enough to spark interest, but it’ll take more.

Despite all the wheeling and dealing in recent years, Seattle’s farm system still needs work. They have three top prospects on the MLB Pipeline top 100, but all three are in A-ball at the moment. Not exactly the immediate impact talent that Washington would want.

Still, you know that Jerry Dipoto is somewhere salivating right now.

Originally found on Sporting News Read More

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