Tampa Bay Rays
If you are looking for a surprise suitor for Soto, do not overlook the Tampa Bay Rays. Any speculation of their interest must come with an addendum that any potential deal is a one-year rental with no talk of a long-term commitment. The Rays will not overpay for Soto. However, a move of this nature would help them hike back to contending for a deeper run in the American League postseason.
Soto is the perfect fit for the Rays, who are desperate for a proven bat in the middle of their batting order. Too many early exits from the postseason were caused by the bats being silenced in a short series. Last season, early success managed to earn a Wild Card berth despite the pitching staff (three starters) being devastated by Tommy John surgery.
The Rays are looking for more balance in their right-handed heavy lineup. It would be a mistake not to pursue the most impactful left-handed bat available in this offseason's trade market.
It is not a move the Rays have a history of making. So, if the 2024 season goes sideways, expect them to trade Soto before next summer’s deadline.
What the future holds
Soto will be the most intriguing name on the trade market this offseason. The Padres need to do their due diligence with each trade proposal offered. Team President of Baseball Operations and General Manager A.J. Preller must have deep conversations with all interested parties before eliminating potential trade partners.
The Padres are in no rush to make a trade, but Soto trade talks will intensify as we get closer to the winter meetings. It may come down to receiving an offer they cannot refuse.