The 2022 Major League Baseball All-Star Game rosters are loaded with potential trade prospects.
Juan Soto headlines the group of players who should be available ahead of the August 2 trade deadline.
Soto has the baseball world talking about him—as does Andrew Benintendi, but for the wrong reasons.
The Kansas City Royals outfielder did not make the pre-All-Star trip to Toronto with the American League Central side, and his vaccination status could hurt the trade market for him in the coming weeks.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays both had interest in Andrew Benintendi, but those two destinations seem unlikely.
"The Jays have been in on Benintendi, but he’d obviously have to get vaccinated if he went there (of course he could decline if he didn’t want to go). The Yankees seem unlikely to pursue Benintendi now, being that they could face Toronto in playoffs," Heyman wrote.
Benintendi emerged as one of the top trade candidates over the last month because of hitting prowess at the top of the Royals order. He is hitting .317 and owns a .786 OPS with 102 hits and 14 doubles.
The Yankees could have used Benintendi's left-handed bat to provide more balance in their order. He likely would have been a straight replacement for Joey Gallo in the outfield.
However, the Yankees appear to have turned away from Benintendi because he is not allowed in Canada at the moment. New York has one series in Toronto in September, and it could also play the Blue Jays in the playoffs.
Toronto could benefit from adding a left-handed bat at the deadline to balance out all the right-handed power bats it has in its current lineup.
Any interest in Benintendi from the Blue Jays has to be shelved unless he receives the COVID-19 vaccine and accepts a trade up north.
There should still be plenty of suitors for Benintendi, especially in the National League. The New York Mets "haven't pulled out" of any Benintendi trade talks, per Heyman.
The Mets and any other NL contenders are likely the best suitors for Benintendi at this point in the trade market, so the chances of going to Toronto are slim.
Juan Soto was the talk of Los Angeles on Monday.
The Washington Nationals outfielder won the 2022 Home Run Derby hours after fielding questions from the media about his reported spot on the trade market.
The Atheltic's Ken Rosenthal said Saturday that Soto rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract from the Nationals and would be available on the trade market.
Soto addressed that report when addressing the media on Monday during All-Star festivities in Los Angeles, per The Athletic's Andy McCullough.
“A couple weeks ago, they were saying they’d never trade me—and now all these things are coming out,” Soto said. “It feels really uncomfortable. You don’t know what to trust. But at the end of the day, it’s out of my hands with what decision they make.”
ESPN's Buster Olney reported on SportsCenter on Monday that a Soto trade will happen by August 2 if a deal is not struck between the 23-year-old outfielder and the Nationals.
"Yes, he is going to be traded unless he works out a deal in the next 15 days," Olney said.
Olney ranked the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers as his top two teams to acquire Soto, as well as the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Olney said in the segment with ESPN anchor Jay Harris that the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves do not believe the Nationals will trade Soto within the division.
San Diego and Texas have been active in the trade and free-agent markets over the last few years.
San Diego could pair Soto with Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., who could play in the outfield when he returns from injury.
The Padres have a six-man starting rotation at the moment, and they could ship out one or two of their major-league position players to make room for Soto and then for Tatis.
Texas has six players on MLB.com's Top 100 prospects list. The Rangers will probably try to keep Jack Leiter, and they are not allowed to trade Kumar Rocker for a year, but all of their other prospects could be available.
If Texas pulls off a Soto trade, it would have Soto, Corey Seager and Marcus Semien in the heart of its order.
The Yankees and Dodgers always have to be mentioned in mega-trade conversations, but they need to weigh how much they are willing to part with their top prospects and what their other trade deadline needs are.