Morosi: Factors to watch in potential Mariners trade for Juan Soto
Oct 20, 2023, 3:09 PM
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
While the MLB postseason continues on, Seattle Mariners fans are looking ahead to the offseason, which kicks off almost immediately after the World Series ends.
All eyes in the Pacific Northwest and the rest of the baseball world will be focused on where two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani signs.
While this isn’t the best or deepest free agent market on the hitting side, that doesn’t necessarily mean superstar hitters aren’t available.
One name that has been floated for a while is Juan Soto, a 24-year-old outfielder who currently plays for the San Diego Padres.
Soto debuted at just 19 years old for the Washington Nationals in 2018, and he’s set to hit free agency after next season.
The Padres went all-in this past season with MLB’s No. 2 payroll and missed the postseason, and now there’s some thought that Soto could be dealt.
Jim Bowden of The Athletic listed the Mariners as one of five teams who could potentially make a move for the All-Star hitter.
Seattle Sports host Mike Salk recently wrote about trading for Soto being the best thing the Mariners could do this offseason.
MLB Network insider Jon Morosi had more to say about the idea of Soto landing with the Mariners during his Wednesday conversation with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob.
“I think that all things are in play for Soto,” he said. “The Padres, they’re such a kaleidoscope of options right now. Obviously, there’s a lot of talk at the end of the season (where) some people thought that perhaps (manager) Bob Melvin would not be back or that (general manager) A.J. Preller would not be back. To this point in time, both of them are going to come back.”
Morosi thinks Soto’s future with San Diego could be centered around what the Padres do or don’t do with the starting rotation this offseason/
“I look at this team and say, they are going to have to not only upgrade the rotation from where it was this year, but if they lose Seattle’s own, Blake Snell in free agency, then what?” he said. “Is their first choice to trade Juan Soto? No, I don’t think it is. I think that their first choice is to keep them. But his agent is Scott Boras and I’ve got zero – zero – indication that he’s about to sign an extension (with the Padres). So as long as that’s the case, I think that maybe they go through the possibilities and see if they can upgrade their rotation via free agency.”
If the Padres lose Snell and are unable to boost the rotation elsewhere, that could make the Mariners a logical partner, Morosi said, given Seattle having plenty of young, good and controllable starting pitchers in the mix.
“If they’re sitting there on Jan. 5, and they say, ‘Oh my gosh, we don’t have a rotation that we like right now, and we can’t sign Soto and the Mariners have all this pitching, let’s call Jerry Dipoto,'” he said.
Dipoto is, of course, the Mariners’ main decision maker when it comes to baseball operations. Morosi noted that Dipoto is known for making trades, as is Preller. In fact, the two have linked up for multiple trades over the last few years.
“So as long as all those things are true, I would say that we’ve got to keep a candle lit for this one. I mean, it’s not going to happen tomorrow. But I do think that in the universe of possibilities, I would say that is at least as plausible as the notion of Ohtani coming to Seattle,” Morosi said. “I’m sure we’ll spend a lot of time on Ohtani. I tend to think he’s going to go somewhere else. By that I’m saying I think that the Soto idea, we should give equal airtime to because I think it is basically just as conceivable as Ohtani, if not more so.”
Listen to Wyman and Bob’s full conversation with Morosi at this link or in the player near the top of this story.