After the New York Yankees missed the postseason for the first time since 2016, they could be looking to make a huge splash - and they're reportedly looking one of the biggest fish in the sea.
SNY reports that the Yanks have had "preliminary" discussions with the San Diego Padres regarding Juan Soto.
Last year, Soto was traded from the Washington Nationals to San Diego, who made a push to the National League Championship Series. However, they took a massive step backwards and finished 82-80, as did New York.
Soto is set to become a free agent after the 2024 season, and given his status as a perennial All-Star at the ripe age of 25, it is certainly not out of the question that he will land a $500 million contract.
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Juan Soto, #22 of the San Diego Padres, celebrates after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 21, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan. (Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
Because of that, San Diego may be looking to move on, as they are also locked into long-term deals with Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, all of whom are signed through at least 2033 on deals worth at least $280 million.
SNY says that Soto can be available at the right price, and the Yankees have potential contracts to dump and prospects to send in a possible deal.
The Yankees finished with their worst record since 1992, despite re-signing 2022 AL MVP Aaron Judge and having the likely American League Cy Young winner in Gerrit Cole, but outside of Judge, who missed time with a couple injuries, just about everything went wrong for them.
Their .227 batting average was the second-worst mark in all of baseball, and outside of Cole's 2.63 ERA, which was the second-lowest in baseball, every other Yankees starter had an ERA north of 4.50.
Juan Soto, #22 of the San Diego Padres, smiles in the dugout after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on July 21, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan. (Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
If Soto were to come aboard, he or Judge would have to move off their natural position of right field, but surely, the Yankees will have a much-needed left-handed bat and equally-as-needed outfielder.
San Diego is in a midst of changes, as well, as Bob Melvin bolted to take the San Francisco Giants' managerial job.
The Yankees have not missed back-to-back postseasons since 2013 and 2014, and even those years ended on high-notes, thanks to the unforgettable farewells of Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.
Juan Soto, #22, and Ha-Seong Kim, #7, celebrate with Manny Machado, #13, of the San Diego Padres after scoring two runs during the seventh inning to go up 5-3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game four of the National League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 15, 2022, in San Diego, California. (Harry How/Getty Images)
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Soto led the majors in walks for the third time in his career this past season with 134, slashing .275/.410/.519 while hitting 35 homers and driving in 109 runs. His .410 OBP was the third-highest in baseball. He has three All-Star nods to his name, boasts a career OPS of .941 and is the active leader in on-base percentage (.421).