The Cardinals are in Washington to play the Nationals this weekend and they’ve got a stronger contingent than just the team. According to Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat, owner Bill DeWitt Jr. and members of the Cards’ baseball ops department also made the trip. So unless that’s just a matter of checking out the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, it sure sounds like they’re trying to bring Soto back with them to St. Louis.
Sign of the deadline times: #stlcards baseball ops department is gathering in DC this weekend to be with the team as they work through the fascinating weekend. Bill DeWitt Jr. is among the brain trust.
— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) July 29, 2022
It’s going to take quite a haul to make that happen, certainly more than just Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker, but the Cards have a strong farm system and they’ve obviously got a competitive MLB club already. They’re not alone in that regard, however, and it’s entirely possible another organization is willing and able to put together a better package.
According to Bob Nightengale, the “Final 4” vying for Soto’s services are the Cardinals, Padres, Mariners, and Dodgers. The easy joke here is that it will actually end up being one of the other 26 teams, but we’ve been hearing about this group for a while and there’s no reason other than history to doubt Nightengale on this.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 29, 2022
Buster Olney tweeted Thursday morning that the Padres are believed to be the frontrunner in this race and Joel Sherman confirmed as much on Friday’s edition of MLB Central. Sherman also noted that “there should be no more motivated team” than the Mariners due to their 21-year postseason drought, but he reiterated more than once that the Padres are the team most insiders favor at this point.
My personal preference is the Mariners because that would put Soto as far away from the Cubs as possible on a team I don’t actively dislike. Seeing the Cardinals land him just in time to welcome the Cubs on Deadline Day next week would be excruciating, which is why I fully expect it to happen.