Could the Chicago Cubs be in the running for San Diego Padres teammate Juan Soto?
MLB.com took a look at where San Diego superstar outfielder Soto could go via trade on Sunday.
The New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and New York Mets were the top five teams that could fit Soto. The Seattle Mariners were also mentioned at the end.
The Cubs were the most likely destination. “The Cubs missed the 2023 postseason by one game,” MLB.com wrote, “and will watch Cody Bellinger leave in free agency. The best way to replace Bellinger then would be to acquire Shohei Ohtani or bring in Soto via trade.”
Bellinger, who broke into the big leagues in a Dodger uniform in 2017 and played for the Dodgers through 2022, batted .356 with 26 home runs, 97 RBIs, a .525 on-base percentage and an .881 OPS in 130 games for the Cubs this season. He was named the National League Silver Slugger of the Year.
A superstar who won NL Rookie of the Year in 2017 and NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2019, Bellinger’s career has been marred by frequent injuries since 2020. 안전놀이터 He was then released as a non-tender.
Bellinger resurrected his career with the Cubs.
He’s bound to attract a lot of attention in free agency. If the Cubs miss out on him, they’ll need to have an alternative. Offensively, they need to fill Bellinger’s void.
The best option is to bring in Soto via trade. On the free agent market, there is Shohei Ohtani, a “two-hitting” star. He is unlikely to be a pitcher in 2024. He didn’t finish the season this year due to a torn UCL in his right elbow.
He is expected to be available as a pitcher in 2025. As a hitter, however, he can start as soon as 2024. In 135 games this year, he batted .412 with 44 doubles, 95 home runs, 102 RBIs, 20 stolen bases, a .654 on-base percentage and a 1.066 OPS.
As a result, he won his second unanimous American League MVP award in 2021. However, the battle for Ohtani is likely to be the most intense. What’s more, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are the most likely West Coast destinations for Ohtani. That’s what Ohtani reportedly wants.
The Cubs then need to have an alternative to Ohtani.
That’s where MLB.com comes in with Soto. Soto made his big league debut with Washington in 2018 and became a San Diegan during the 2022 season.
This season, he played in all 162 games, batting .275 with 35 homers, 109 RBIs, a .410 on-base percentage, a .519 slugging percentage, and a .929 OPS. He could be a top card if they need offensive reinforcements. Soto is eligible for free agency at the end of the 2024 season, so a trade next offseason is highly likely.
It will be interesting to see where this year’s National League Silver Slugger and All-Star ends up.