2. Juan Soto, OF (San Diego Padres)
Next on the list is San Diego Padres star outfielder Juan Soto. Juan Soto is already a 3X All-Star, Home Run Derby Champ, and a World Series winner. Soto will turn just 25 later this month, which blows my mind. It feels like Soto has been in the league forever. His debut came in 2018, and he won the World Series with the Washington Nationals in 2019. Soto was traded to the Padres at the Trade Deadline back in 2022, and things just have not been working out there.
The Padres lost in the NLCS last year to the Philidelphia Phillies, and the team had huge expectations in 2023. But they never figured it out, and with other players like Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Xander Bogaerts, the Padres need a shake-up. Juan Soto has been rumored to be traded this off-season, mostly because the Padres may not be able to afford him. The Padres have Machado, Tatis, Bogaerts and others locked up long-term, for big money.
Soto is one of the best hitters in the game. He is a career .284 hitter, with a career .421 on base percentage. Soto has walked 640 times in his career and struck out just 577 times. That kind of production would elevate the Mariners lineup in a massive way. He also has tremendous pop, clubbing 35 Home Runs and driving in 109. Just imagine what the lineup could be with J.P. Crawford leading off, Juan Soto batting second, and Julio Rodriguez batting third.
If the Mariners were able to pry Soto away, could they sign him long term? Probably not. Soto has long been rumored that in Free Agency, he could land more than $400,000,000. Until I am proven wrong, the Mariners will not shell that kind of money out. WIth Soto entering his last year of arbitration (at a projected $33,000,000), the prospect cost it would take to land him could be significantly less than the price San Diego paid Washington for his services. Even if he were to leave for Free Agency, His presence could be enough to take the Mariners to the next level.