MLB Rumors: Yankees Interested in Juan Soto Trade; Angels call Shohei Ohtani

The Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline is just 10 days away, which means teams are scrambling to figure out if they’re buying, selling or holding as the day approaches. Accordingly, this is rumor season in MLB as well, and we’re here to gather what’s out there. Now let’s get into the Saturday booth.

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The story of the end of the season will be whether Nationals superstar outfielder Juan Soto is traded and if he’ll be up for it. In summary, the 23-year-old reportedly turned down a 15-year, $440 million extension offer from Washington, meaning the Nats are now looking to trade him. They’ll wait until the offseason to do so, but something might come along before it’s too late.

Simply put, Soto is a born killer, and he’s still an exceptional young man. Soto has a .250/.403/.494 batting line (160) this season. OPS+) with 20 homers and more walks (79) than strikeouts (54) this season. He is a career .292/.427/.540 hitter (160 OPS+), which ranks among the best for his age.

Soto is wanted by any team, and you can count the AL East-leading New York Yankees among them:

Soto would be a good fit for any team, especially for the Yankees, who struggle to get enough production from outfielder Joey Gallo. It goes without saying that the high-net-worth Yankees will take any bad contract the Nationals ask to move (Patrick Corbin’s, to be exact) and offer the Soto Nats a contract extension higher than what was offered. They also have high ceiling expectations to do something. Whether the Yankees would choose to make such commitments remains an open question, but the interest in trading Soto is — at least in theory — there.

Other teams reported to be interested in Soto include the Dodgers, Cardinals, Padres, Mets and others.

The Yanks are also looking at Benintendi.

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The Royals are looking to move Andrew Benintendi before the deadline and the Yankees need some outfield help, so he’s a good fit. As Mark Feinsand reports, it’s a big deal in the Bronx:

Benintendi, 28, is hitting .319/.389/.402 with three home runs. That’s good production, especially in a year where offense has been down, but he’s shown very little raw power. The expectation that Benintendi will be a dramatic upgrade for the Yankees going forward will depend on his ability to continue hitting well north of .300. Despite his swing changes, this is a very risky bet, as batting average is highly susceptible to luck-based outcomes.

Benintendi is eligible for free agency this coming season, so if there is no extension, he will be a “rental” acquisition.

Otani drawing interest on the trade market; Angels are not ready

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Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani, the reigning MVP in the American League, provides excellent value on the mound and at the plate. He also takes up a single roster spot and is paid less than his on-field value. That led to speculation that the long-disappointing Angels wanted to trade him to a more relevant team. Ohtani would obviously be a huge lift for any baseball roster, and accordingly, any team would want to add him to the fold. As John Morosi reports, however, the Angels don’t seem ready to take such a drastic step.

For years, the Angels couldn’t compete despite Mike Trout being on the roster, and the same has been true of Ohtani and Trout in recent years. The 2022 season was no different, and Ohtani in particular indicated that playing for a winning team is a personal priority. Ohtani isn’t eligible for free agency until the 2023 season, though, so he has little control over that. On the one hand, that extra season of control adds to Ohtani’s tremendous trade value. On the other hand, the Angels will no doubt be tempted to wait for him next season, thinking they could finally reach contention. If the report above is a guide, the Angels will be leaning at least through the offseason.

Of course, it’s also worth acknowledging the obvious: everything is negotiable, and that may be the case with the Angels.

The Mets add interesting help

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The Mets made a small move on Saturday, acquiring backup catcher Michael Perez from the Pirates in exchange for cash considerations. Perez, who was recently designated for assignment, is a .175/.244/.305 hitter over five MLB seasons for the Rays and Pirates. This is just a deep game for the Mets, who again have lead catcher James McCann (limitation). Perez turns 30 in August.

To make room for Perez on the 40-man roster, the Mets designated Travis Blankenhorn for assignment.

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