ESPN’s Passan: What a Mariners trade for Juan Soto would cost them

Jul 20, 2022, 11:42 AM
Mariners Juan Soto Mitch Haniger...
Juan Soto celebrates a homer with Mitch Haniger during a 2018 game between All-Stars from Japan and MLB. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

Juan Soto is going to be the focus of the baseball world heading into the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline, especially in Seattle with the Mariners playing their best baseball in decades, riding a 14-game winning streak heading into the second half of the season.

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Earlier this week, Mariners insider Shannon Drayer of Seattle Sports explained on The Mike Salk Show why pursuing a trade for the 23-year-old superstar would make sense for the M’s. On Wednesday, ESPN MLB reporter Jeff Passan took his turn on The Mike Salk Show sharing his two cents on the situation. Most interestingly, he mapped out what he thinks a trade with the Washington Nationals to bring Soto to Seattle would cost, and it’s certainly steep.

“It’s very rare that you have the opportunity to go out, when your window’s open, and get one of the best players in baseball,” Passan said. “But it would cost Noelvi Marte, Emerson Hancock, Edwin Arroyo, Jarred Kelenic and Matt Brash – I think that’s the size of the package, and maybe even more than that.”

For the record, according to MLB Pipeline, shortstops Marte and Arroyo and pitchers Brash and Hancock take up four of the top five spots in the Mariners’ prospect rankings, and Marte is No. 19 overall in all of baseball. Kelenic, an outfielder currently in Triple-A, no longer has prospect status after appearing in 123 MLB games over the past two seasons but was regularly in the mix as one of the best prospects in baseball, even ranking ahead of current Mariners phenom Julio Rodríguez at times.

That being said, it’s the “maybe even more than that” part of Passan’s response that stands out as a hurdle in a possible Soto trade that the Mariners may not be willing to jump over.

“If I could do it without giving up anything from my major league roster other than a reliever,” said Mike Salk, “I don’t know how you don’t do that. Now, if you start talking (starting pitchers) Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, guys that you need to win now, I can understand saying ‘no.'”

Responded Passan: “That’s why I don’t think they’re gonna get it. Because I think that Washington naturally and rightly would say ‘We need one of those two.’ … I think the Mariners could trade for Soto, but it’s really tough. I don’t know that they have, frankly, enough.”

Will Soto be dealt before the deadline?

Reports surfaced in the last week that Soto turned down a massive extension from the Nationals worth $440 million, which has led to more reports stating that Washington will now try to get what it can for him in a trade. It could result in the biggest deal in baseball history.

But is it realistic to think such a trade to can come together in less than two weeks when the annual MLB trade deadline passes?

“My instinct tells me no,” Passan said. “Putting a deal together for a player like Juan Soto tends to take time. It goes through different iterations… When you’re just acquiring a guy for one year or for a stretch run, it’s essentially a conversation with your owner. … Here, it’s, can I get the money? And are we going to try to make a run at signing him? And if so, oh, by the way, we’re gonna have to pay significantly more than anyone has paid a baseball player in the history of the game. And on top of that, we’re gonna have to give up probably the biggest package of players anyone ever has done.”

It may be tough for the Nationals to get a clear picture of what they’re looking for before Aug. 2, as well.

“I think the other issue is teams wrapping their heads around the idea that they’re going to be trading that much talent and the Washington Nationals trying to figure out what the value of (Soto’s) market is in such a short period of time.

“… Getting to all of those decisions in such a short period of time takes an impulsive group of people.”

Wait, did he say impulsive? Passan did, and he quickly realized that Mariners general manager/president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto has a bit of a reputation for being just that when making trades.

“Now, there may not be a more impulsive person than Jerry Dipoto, so if anyone’s going to get together (the trade package) to do that, it’s probably Jerry.”

So you’re saying there’s a chance…

Listen to the full conversation between Passan and Salk in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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ESPN’s Passan: What a Mariners trade for Juan Soto would cost them