Teams looking to acquire Washington Nationals star Juan Soto ahead of Tuesday's deadline have one more day to up the ante, and the three presumed finalists reportedly did just that.
According to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports, the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres "all improved their offers to the Nationals" even though Tuesday will likely be the time "we're going to find out what team really wants him the most."
Bowden suggested it may take throwing in an additional prospect who has not been included in trade offers to this point.
Yet there may be a backup option in place for at least the National League West teams considering Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported the "Dodgers have looked at Ian Happ, though, as with the Padres, that seems like a backup plan to Soto."
Happ, who is a member of the Chicago Cubs, was a first-time All-Star this season.
Still, ever since Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported last month that Soto rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract extension from the Nationals, he has been the focal point of the entire trade deadline.
After all, it's not often a 23-year-old star with the chance to be one of the faces of the league for more than a decade with a contract that keeps him under team control for two more seasons beyond the current one becomes available, but that is the situation here.
The Dodgers landing Soto would further solidify their spot as the National League favorites.
They're 68-33 with a lineup that includes Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman. Six of their players were All-Stars this year, and they have been in three of the last five World Series.
San Diego is the Dodgers' most serious threat in the NL West, even if there is a 12-game gap separating them in the standings. There is enough talent in place to at least challenge Los Angeles in a playoff series, and that disparity may have shrunk some Monday when the Padres landed closer Josh Hader in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Trading for Soto could help further reduce that gap and ensure he isn't on the other side of the rivalry.
St. Louis has an opportunity to challenge the Brewers in the NL Central, and landing Soto the day after a Milwaukee team with a three-game cushion in the race traded Hader would be quite the one-two punch.
Whether that is enough for the Cardinals to give up an extra prospect or two remains to be seen, but a lineup with Soto, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado would be quite formidable.