Just In: Blockbuster Trade Prediction Has Yankees Deal 3-Time All-Star in ‘Fire Sale’…

In his early debut for the New York Yankees, offseason trade acquisition Juan Soto has lived up to the hype at the plate and even exceeded it on defense. In two games against the Houston Astros, the 25-year-old outfielder has four hits, three walks and two RBI and he made a game-saving throw to home in the opener.

But if the Yankees’ early fortunes turn, Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report predicted that Soto and some of his new teammates may ultimately end up being dealt at the midseason trade deadline.

“If the Yankees fall out of the AL East race early, which is a very real possibility given the wide range of potential outcomes from their starting rotation, they have a lot of intriguing pieces to put on the trade block,” Reuter wrote as a “bold prediction” for the Yankees in 2024. “Juan Soto, Gleyber Torres, Clay Holmes, Alex Verdugo and Jonathan Loáisiga are all free agents next season.”

Fans could be forgiven if even the mere thought of trading Soto away gives way to immediate indignation. He is one of the best hitters of his generation, a three-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger and two-time member of the MLB First Team. In 2023, he led the big leagues in games played and walks drawn, slashing .275/.410/.519.

The Yankees lost a sizable portion of their young pitching depth to acquire him and outfielder Trent Grisham from the San Diego Padres, trading away right-handers Michael King, Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez, as well as catcher Kyle Higashioka.

But Soto is set to hit free agency at the end of the season and the Yankees are publicly indicating they won’t extend him before that, as reported by MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Soto is expected to command a blockbuster contract as he enters the prime of his career and if the Yankees are out of contention at the deadline, they might see more value in moving him than seeing him walk in free agency without plans to match the competing offers.

Expanding on that possibility, Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic noted the Yankees existing payroll limitations as constraints that could keep the team from re-signing Soto.

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