The Mariners will be glad they didn't pay the freight to acquire Juan Soto for 1 year
Soto was the best name available via trade this offseason and is one of the best hitters in baseball. There is no doubt he would’ve been a significant upgrade for the Seattle Mariners. His value to the Mariners team seemed to be all over the place for Mariners fans; some wanted to acquire him at all costs, some didn’t want a 1-year rental bat, and others were interested but probably knew it would be too expensive. It is an interesting debate and one we don’t get to have very often, as a player of this magnitude generally isn’t made available.
Juan Soto was moved at the Winter Meeting to the New York Yankees and the Padres got an absolute haul. The package ended up including RP Michael King, SP Jhony Brito, Yankees #5 prospect (per MLB Pipeline) RHP Drew Thorpe, #13 prospect (per MLB Pipeline) RHP Randy Vasquez, and C Kyle Higashioka. That is 4 potential starting pitchers with some pretty high upside and a lot of club control.
The Padres obviously targeted pitching depth in this trade, something that I don’t think the Mariners could have matched. I think for the Mariners to be in the ballpark of this offer it would have been something like Miller, Hancock, Berroa, Cole Phillips and probably another top 10 prospect. The top end of the Mariners offer would have been better as Bryce Miller is a better headliner. The issue for the Mariners is that the secondary and tertiary pieces they have to offer on the pitching side, just can’t match up with the Yankees. Sure, they could put up any number of middle infielders or some young but talented outfielders, but as I said, the Padres had a clear focus on getting young pitching back, and lots of it.
This is a lot for the Mariners to give up, albeit for one of the top 5 hitters in baseball. Soto is on a 1-year deal and is expected to earn $33 million in his final year of arbitration. For a team with serious budget concerns, that eats into a lot of it.
I think Soto is the best bat the Mariners could have added this offseason, outside of Ohtani, but for the freight you would have been required to bring to the table for the Padres, it's just not worth it long term.