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Juan Soto Trade Rumors: Padres Near Deal for Nats Star Amid Dodgers, Cardinals Buzz

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 2, 2022

The Washington Post

It's looking increasingly like Juan Soto has played his last game for the Washington Nationals.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reported that the Padres are "getting close" to acquiring Soto:

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

The San Diego <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Padres?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Padres</a> are getting close to landing Juan Soto from the Washington <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nationals?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Nationals</a>. The deal is not yet finalized.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com added that the belief is the Padres are gaining momentum for a deal:

Mark Feinsand @Feinsand

Executives around the league believe the momentum for Soto to the Padres is gaining steam. However, let’s not forget the exact same scenario happened last year with San Diego and Max Scherzer. Still, many believe that Soto will be a Padre by the end of the day.

Those reports come after MLB Insider Hector Gomez reported the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals will increase their offers for Soto amid buzz the Padres had emerged as a front-runner.

Soto, who by any measure is one of the five best players in baseball, has become the crown jewel of this trade deadline after contract extension negotiations with the Nationals broke down. Washington reportedly offered a 15-year, $440 million contract, a deal Soto rejected as he attempts to sign perhaps the richest contract in sports history.

The 23-year-old is in the midst of a down season, hitting .246/.408/.485 with 21 home runs and 46 runs batted in. Despite posting by far the worst batting average of his career, Soto remains MLB's most patient hitter and is on pace to hit 30-plus home runs for the first time since 2019.

The Dodgers, Cardinals and Padres all fashion themselves as World Series contenders. San Diego and Los Angeles are no strangers to deadline battles down to the wire, with the Dodgers outbidding the Padres for Max Scherzer at the 2021 deadline.

It's likely the Nationals will take the discussions right down to the 6 p.m. ET deadline, forcing teams to put their best offers on the table as they try to land a generational talent.

The Dodgers have the unlimited financial wherewithal to make Soto a massive long-term contract offer, whereas it's possible the smaller-market Padres and Cardinals view him as a shorter-term difference marker. Soto can become a free agent after the 2024 season.

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