HomeTrending MLB NewsPadres trading Juan Soto to Yankees reportedly almost didn't happen

Padres trading Juan Soto to Yankees reportedly almost didn’t happen

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The MLB landscape changed when the New York Yankees acquired All-Star outfielder Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres in December. 

It appears that trade almost didn’t happen. 

Ahead of the Yankees’ home opener scheduled for Friday afternoon, MLB insider Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that “there was a solid chance Soto might stay long term in San Diego” because then-Padres owner Peter Seidler held “secret talks” with Soto’s camp that began last summer. 

Seidler unfortunately died on Nov. 14 at the age of 63. Soto, meanwhile, remains on track to reach free agency after the ongoing season.

“The owner loved Juan Soto. He was sixth in [Most Valuable Player voting], a Silver Slugger, an All-Star,” Soto’s agent Scott Boras told Heyman. “Peter called about wanting to pursue him, and there were discussions about wanting to keep him. And unfortunately, it did not work out because of his health.” 

Boras added that Soto “really liked” Seidler and enjoyed life in San Diego. 

Logic and history both suggest Boras would’ve always pushed for Soto to reach free agency to maximize the 25-year-old’s value. The bidding for Soto later this year reportedly could “start at $500M” and involve big-spending New York Mets owner Steve Cohen going above and beyond Soto’s financial requests to lure the slugger away from the Yankees. 

However, Heyman pointed out that Seidler became known “as a smaller-market Steve Cohen” for his willingness to assemble expensive squads that, like Cohen’s Mets, failed to claim the ultimate prize of a championship. 

“Though the talks were kept quiet at the time (even to folks around the team), some connected to the team say they believe a Soto deal in San Diego would have gotten done had Seidler lived,” Heyman added. “One reason is that not only Seidler but [general manager A.J. Preller] also loved Soto — Preller expressed sadness upon trading Soto to the Yankees — and the other is that Seidler did everything to win without regard to payroll or tax.”

Boras told Heyman that Soto currently is “very happy in New York.” Such feelings presumably could cause Soto to pick either the Yankees or Mets in free agency following the 2024 World Series. 

Meanwhile, passionate Padres fans will be left wondering what could have been had Soto inked an extension with San Diego during the 2023 campaign. 

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