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#pounditSunday, September 25, 2022

Report: Potential new favorite emerges in Juan Soto trade talks

Juan Soto in a uniform

May 16, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto (22) runs to the dugout after the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB trade deadline is just over one week away, and a new team may be a potential frontrunner to land Washington Nationals star Juan Soto in a deal.

As many as seven different teams have made initial offers for the 23-year-old Soto, who reportedly rejected a recent 15-year, $440 million offer from the Nationals.

Of those seven teams, the St. Louis Cardinals may be the new favorite in the Soto sweepstakes.

According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman, the Cardinals are “viewed by rivals as a potential front-runner” to land Soto due to their talented farm system.

Sherman and Heyman also reported that some other interested teams have been told Washington is currently focusing on deals with one or two teams. Some are under the impression that “the Cardinals are in the group getting early attention.”

The Cardinals are certainly a team that can give the Nationals the type of massive return that they are looking for in a Soto trade.

St. Louis has five of MLB.com’s top 100 prospects, including the seventh-best prospect in baseball in third baseman Jordan Walker. The other prospects include pitcher Matthew Liberatore (ranked 45th), catcher Ivan Herrera (ranked 82nd), shortstop Masyn Winn (ranked 89th) and pitcher Gordon Graceffo (ranked 100th). Winn threw the hardest ball of the season by an infielder during the MLB All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium on July 16 (see video here).

St. Louis also has some controllable young players in the majors already, including outfielders Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill, as well as infielder Nolan Gorman.

The Nationals do not have to move Soto, who is under team control for two more seasons after 2022, by the deadline. If the Cardinals and any other interested team fails to put together a package to the Nationals’ liking, it is very possible that Soto will remain in Washington through at least the end of this season.

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