The San Diego Padres appear quite serious when it comes to their Juan Soto pursuit.
The Padres are one of three teams reportedly in the running for the Washington Nationals superstar, and according to multiple reports, San Diego might have pulled into the lead. Not only that, they might have their eye on more than just Soto.
The Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga reported Tuesday morning there’s a “growing sense” the Padres are the most likely team to land Soto. Not only that, but Svrluga also reported San Diego has its eye on Washington first baseman Josh Bell, too.
“Multiple people have heard there’s momentum in those talks,” he reported in a tweet.
The New York Post’s Jon Heyman confirmed the report, saying the Padres are “being aggressive.”
Outside of Soto, Bell might be the best hitter still available. He should be especially attractive for teams searching for power. He’s a couple of seasons removed from hitting 37 home runs with the Pirates, and he has an .877 OPS this season for the Nationals. Finding a way to add both Soto and Bell would give the Padres arguably the best lineup in baseball, and that’s despite the fact Fernando Tatis Jr. is still injured (though he might be nearing a rehab assignment, too).
The big question, of course, is how San Diego gets this deal done. The Padres’ farm system isn’t as deep as it once was, but the Padres have some of the best top-end talent in all of baseball in their prospect pool. What’s particularly interesting about their Bell pursuit is that they do have a pair of players in their everyday lineup who could play the position. One of them, Eric Hosmer, is being paid quite handsomely in the middle of an eight-year, $144 million contract. The other, Luke Voit, has the ceiling of an above-average power hitter.
Could San Diego include Hosmer in a deal, if for nothing else to make the money and roster work? He has the ability to opt out following the 2022 season, so the Padres could theoretically include him in a deal, especially if they get the sense he might test free agency again this winter.
That’s pure spitballing at this point, but it does seem the Padres are inching closer to pulling off one of the biggest trades in baseball history.