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MLB Rumors: Yankees May Be 'More of a Fallback Option' in Juan Soto Trade Talks

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 28, 2022

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New York Yankees reportedly aren't a favorite in the Juan Soto sweepstakes.

Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media reported Thursday on where the Yankees stand in trade talks for the Washington Nationals' star outfielder:

"While the Yankees remain in on Nationals star Juan Soto, they don’t feel like they’re particularly 'engaged' with Washington, which appears to be seeking younger established major-league players, the person said. The Yankees may be more of a 'fallback' option for Soto, the person said."

That is in line with a report from the New York Post's Jon Heyman, who tweeted that the Yankees aren't at the "forefront" of Soto trade discussions.

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

While there’s no word the Yankees are officially out on Juan Soto it’s clear they aren’t currently at the forefront of those talks. So it makes sense they jumped on Andrew Benintendi. SD, STL, LAD and TEX, perhaps due to better prospect matches, seem more involved in Soto talks.

Soto, 23, is a two-time All-Star who has amassed 20 home runs and 45 RBI this year.

Soto became the hottest name on this year's trading block after The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported that he and the Nats couldn't come to terms on a long-term extension.

Hector Gomez of Z101 Digital reported the Nats planned to make one final offer to Soto but would trade him if he didn't accept.

Héctor Gómez @hgomez27

SOURCE: The Nationals plan to make a better offer to Juan Soto, which will be their last. If Soto does not accept, he will be traded. <a href="https://t.co/PCON9u94If">https://t.co/PCON9u94If</a>

Nats general manager Mike Rizzo has since made it clear that Soto is available, but the team won't give him away.

"I will say this: We're going to have to get the deal that we want, that makes the most sense, that gets us the opportunity to become a championship organization faster than not trading him. That's it in a nutshell," Rizzo said Wednesday on The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan.

Soto is under team control through the 2024 season, but his time with the Nats could be nearing its close.

The right fielder would be a great fit on any team. He's one of the game's brightest young stars and may be on his way to Cooperstown.

It appears the San Diego Padres could be the front-runner for Soto, per ESPN's Buster Olney.

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

As of Thursday morning, some rival executives perceive the Padres to be the frontrunner to land Juan Soto.

The Yankees need help in the corner outfield, especially since Joey Gallo is hitting just .161, but they got some in the form of Andrew Benintendi. New York traded three minor league pitchers Wednesday for the All-Star, who is hitting .320 and won a Gold Glove last year.

That's a great consolation prize for the Yanks if Soto doesn't land in the Bronx. As is, the 66-33 Yankees own the American League's best record and are primed for a playoff run. They'll take on Benintendi's former team, the Kansas City Royals, for a four-game home series starting Thursday.

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