The short answer is no, Jeff. So, why even ask the question? Jon Heyman of the New York Post recently made the case against the New York Yankees trading for Juan Soto. Heyman referenced a report from Héctor Gómez of Z101 Digital tying not only the Yankees to Soto, but the Giants and New York Mets as well.
Could the Padres trade star outfielder Juan Soto to the SF Giants?
Heyman made some compelling points as to why the Yankees should not trade for Soto this offseason. These points can also be applied to the Giants and other teams. Of course, every team should want to acquire a talent like Soto. There is no question about that.
The San Diego Padres could look to trade the 25-year-old as they are expected to shed payroll for next season. The shedding has already begun, but the quickest way to achieve that end would be to ship Soto elsewhere.
Will they actually do it? Will Soto actually be traded twice during his rookie contract? I am skeptical. Reports suggest otherwise, so take my word with a massive grain of salt. I just do not see San Diego trading the left-handed bat on a roster that still has a lot of talent including Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, and Fernando Tatis Jr.
Trading him would be a huge change in direction from when the Padres acquired him less than two years ago. San Diego shipped a handful of top prospects, so they could be in a position to recoup his remaining value before he hits free agency.
This is an important detail that makes me wonder if a trade will actually happen. Soto will hit free agency next season. He is represented by agent Scott Boras, who wants his players to reach free agency as a way to leverage the market. And, it works every time. Boras gets his clients paid well.
Teams know that they will not be able to work out an extension with Soto before he hits free agency, so if they trade for him, it is literally a one-year rental of a player who could easily put up an MVP-caliber season. That is tremendous value, but teams have a long-term view for roster building, so they will be hesitant to part with top prospects.
That is what it is going to cost - at least two of a team's top prospects to acquire Soto. Will that be worth it in the end? I typically say go with the predictable value rather than the unknown of prospects. Though, you are not just trading away a prospect's potential future value, but also the fact that he would be under team control for six seasons. That rookie contract holds a lot of value to teams and why they may not be inclined to trade that for one year of Soto.
That said, teams are aware of the cash flow issues with San Diego, so they could try to put together lowball trade packages. The Padres will not just trade a generational talent like Soto to be relieved of the financial cost. They and a trade partner will need to meet in the middle. Will a trade partner willingly do that? It could come to fruition, especially with Winter Meetings right around the corner.
Anyways, this is meant to be about the Giants. I feel pretty confident in saying that the Padres are not going to trade within the division. Even if they did, are the Giants one Juan Soto away from competing after winning 78 games in 2023?
He would massively improve the roster. There is no doubt about that. If a team is going to trade for one year of Soto, it feels like they need to be one piece away from being a World Series favorite. That is not the Giants. Given this, why would they trade for Soto for 2024 when they can negotiate with him in free agency next winter?
I have a feeling that is how many teams view the prospect of trading for the star outfielder. They could make a move this winter, but why not just wait it out? The Giants will probably be somewhere in the mix next offseason given that they are one of the few teams who could realistically afford his contract, but I just do not envision the Padres trading him within the division.