With the trade deadline fast approaching, there is a “growing sense” that the Padres have taken the lead in the Juan Soto sweepstakes. That comes from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post, who added that the Pads could land first baseman Josh Bell. Such a coup would eliminate San Diego as a destination for Willson Contreras or Ian Happ, let alone both of them in a blockbuster.
As the trade deadline approaches, there is a growing sense that the Padres are the most likely landing spot for Juan Soto — and, in a twist, perhaps Josh Bell too. Multiple people have heard there’s momentum in those talks.
— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) August 2, 2022
Adding to the Soto speculation, Jesse Dougherty of the Post tweeted that the field of potential suitors may be narrowing. That is significant considering the latest reports had just the Padres, Dodgers, and Cardinals involved.
Was a late night for the Nationals’ front office, as expected, and I have also heard the field is narrowing in the Juan Soto sweepstakes. https://t.co/wLATpIU6oX
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) August 2, 2022
The Cards have been pursuing pitching and the Dodgers may not feel the sense of urgency to spend what it’ll take to land Soto, which could mean falling back and letting the Padres go for it. That could impact the Cubs, as it was reported Monday night that the Dodgers view Happ as a fallback option in case they don’t land Soto. Contreras has already seen his own market narrowed recently, so the Padres landing Soto could make the Mets his primary pursuers.
That might not be great for the Cubs, who have seemingly been holding out for more than the Mets are willing to offer up to this point. However it ends up working out, the Soto domino may have to fall in order to get the rest of these deals moving.
Oh, one last note: Acquiring Bell would mean the Padres would finally have to move Eric Hosmer. But would that be as part of the huge deal for Soto or might they pivot to something smaller with the Cubs as a means to trim salary?