MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Info on Juan Soto, Luis Castillo and Andrew Benintendi
The 2022 Major League Baseball trade deadline gained its megastar that everyone wants to trade for on Saturday.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported that Juan Soto turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract offer from the Washington Nationals and the National League East side will now look to trade him.
For the second straight year, Washington is the focal point of the trade deadline. A year ago, it acquired Keibert Ruiz, Josiah Gray and two other prospects from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.
The Nationals are expected to land an even bigger haul for Soto from one of the big players on the trade market.
Prior to the Soto news, the centerpieces of the trade deadline were likely going to be Cincinnati Reds pitcher Luis Castillo and Kansas City Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
Castillo and Benintendi may move before the August 2 deadline, but their acquisitions will play second fiddle to the Soto speculation we will hear over the next two weeks.
The Juan Soto sweepstakes is off and running.
The usual big swingers at the trade deadline, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, were immediately mentioned in trade conversations once Soto became available on the trade market.
Any deal for the 23-year-old outfielder will require a handful of top prospects in return so that the Nationals can further their rebuild and try to be competitive in a few years.
New York makes sense for Soto because it has to rid itself of Joey Gallo's hitting problems in the outfield and it has two top prospects in Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza that the Nationals would welcome in return.
The Yankees could also use the Soto sweepstakes as a long-term answer to the middle of their lineup and let Aaron Judge walk in free agency at the end of the season. Soto is seven years younger than Judge.
The Yankees are 13 games clear of the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East, but they need to make some additions at the deadline to beat out the Houston Astros in a potential American League Championship Series. Houston only has five fewer wins than New York.
Los Angeles owns a 12-game advantage over the San Francisco Giants in the National League West, but its biggest competition comes from the NL East in the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves.
Soto would be an upgrade over all of the Dodgers' outfielders except for Mookie Betts and his potential acquisition would give Dave Roberts an abundance of sluggers to place in his lineup between Betts, Soto, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman.
Washington is familiar with the Dodgers' farm system from the Scherzer-Turner deal last season. Diego Cartaya and Bobby Miller, the Dodgers' top two prospects, should be Washington's targets, as could Dustin May and a few fringe major leaguers.
Other franchises could swoop into the Soto sweepstakes, but everything has to work for those teams.
The Texas Rangers could swing big and add Soto to Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, but they would likely give up some strong young arms in the process. Texas may not want to do that with the potential of Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker leading the rotation for years to come.
The New York Mets have the money to sign Soto, but they need to figure out how willing the Nationals are to trade Soto within the division. Top catching prospect Francisco Alvarez is likely off the table in negotiations, so that would leave the Mets with one top 40 prospects to offer when the Yankees and Dodgers have five between them, per MLB.com.
Prior to the Soto bombshell, Luis Castillo's masterful performance inside Yankee Stadium on Thursday was the biggest news regarding the trade deadline.
Castillo struck out eight batters over seven innings and he conceded two hits against one of the best lineups in baseball.
The performance launched the right-handed hurler further into the trade spotlight, as he showcased what he is capable of against a playoff-caliber opponent.
The New York Post's Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees and Dodgers "are best positioned" to land the Cincinnati Reds' right-handed starter.
Heyman also mentioned the Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres and New York Mets were "early entrants" in the race for Castillo, but the Padres and Mets have shifted to trades for bats.
Castillo is viewed as the best arm on the trade market since Frankie Montas and Tyler Mahle have been dealing with injuries. He has three consecutive starts that lasted seven innings and featured at least six strikeouts. He gave up a single earned run in each of those appearances.
If the Yankees and Dodgers are the top contenders for Castillo, they may have to weigh their options with Soto now on the trade market.
New York and Los Angeles could go all in on Soto and then focus on adding pitchers, or they could make Castillo their No. 1 target and offer up two or three prospects, instead of five or six, in return for the right-handed hurler.
Minnesota is an intriguing player in the hunt for Castillo since it desperately needs a starting pitcher to hold on to its four-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
A Dylan Bundy Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray playoff rotation could find the Twins out of the playoffs in three games.
The Twins need to add a top-tier starter and Castillo fits their profile, but they only have one Top 100 prospect, Royce Lewis, who has been hurt for most of the 2022 season.
Minnesota has less to offer Cincinnati, but it could make a move for him if the Yankees and Dodgers are too focused on landing Soto.
Heyman reported the Padres, Brewers and Yankees are among the franchises that have inquired about Andrew Benintendi.
The Kansas City Royals outfielder is the best short-term hitting fix on the trade market, but his status took a hit when he did not travel to Toronto over the weekend because of his vaccination status.
The Yankees have three games left in Toronto from September 26-28 that could shape where they stand in the home-field advantage race with the Astros.
New York may not be willing to take the risk that Benintendi can't play in those games, or in a potential playoff series. Toronto is third in the AL wild-card standings.
Benintendi carries a .317 batting average with 102 hits, 14 doubles, three home runs and 37 RBI.
The former Boston Red Sox outfielder is a free agent at the end of the season and he could be available at a reasonable price for the Yankees, or anyone else interested in him.
New York could use a left-handed outfield bat to replace Joey Gallo in its order. Benintendi could bat leadoff, or in front of Aaron Judge, to put more runners on base for the home run leader.
The Padres are heavy on right-handed power and the return of Fernando Tatis Jr., who has been taking outfield reps during his rehab, could complicate where Benintendi fits. Benintendi would provide an upgrade in batting average and on-base percentage compared to Jurickson Profar and Trent Grisham.
Milwaukee could use some extra punch in its lineup from the outfield to support Christian Yelich, Andrew McCutchen and Hunter Renfroe. A potential trade for Benintendi may give the Brewers the needed lineup depth to beat out the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
Benintendi's contract status may end up being more important to NL teams than his vaccination status because the chances of playing in Toronto are slim.
Milwaukee, San Diego, or another contender will not have to max out their farm system to land him. One or two solid players in return may be enough to land the left-handed bat from a Kansas City roster that could look much different after August 2.