Should the Miami Marlins target this middle of the order bat?

Juan Soto
Juan Soto / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

The Miami Marlins need another middle of the order bat. That has been confirmed by the unfortunate sweep that The Fish received from the Philadelphia Phillies. CF Jazz Chisholm Jr. can't run for three months and first baseman Josh Bell can opt-out of his contract by declining his player option after the season. Designated Hitter Jorge Soler is in the same boat. What about a big trade to add an impact bat to the middle of the order?!

The Miami Marlins need a middle of the order bat.

It might sound crazy but if the Miami Marlins want to make a splash this off-season, there's one obvious trade candidate that immediately comes to mind. The player in question is none other then San Diego Padres LF Juan Soto. Soto is a generational superstar who debuted at 19 years old with the Washington Nationals.

Juan Soto delivered an amazing .301/.432/.550, with 98 home runs and 312 RBI in 464 games and 1612 AB. He was worth 17.6 WAR for that run from 2018 to 2021. He of course also won a World Series with the team back in the 2019 season. He ended up splitting 2022 between Washington and the San Diego Padres. He was traded mid-season because Washington was rebuilding, and Soto refused a 15 year/$440 million extension offer from the team.

Soto batted a disappointing .242/.401/.452 with Washington and San Diego in 2022. This season with the San Diego Padres, he batted .275/.410/.519, with 35 home runs and 109 RBI in 162 games and 568 AB. He was worth 5.6 WAR for that performance this season. The problem is that San Diego didn't contend as expected, missed the playoffs and are now planning to cut payroll.

Juan Soto is likely to receive over $30 million in his final season of arbitration. This might be too much for them to pay if they intend to still be competitive. They will already be facing the losses of their ace and closer to free agency, and that's on top of of also dealing with other arbitration raises. The quickest way for them to cut costs is to trade Soto.

Another reason is that it just seems unlikely that they will extend him prior to his free agency after next season. They may not be able to afford him, and he may not be interested in doing it so close to free agency. The only problem is that San Diego will likely want a prospect haul, and it's doubtful that Bruce Sherman would authorize re-signing Juan Soto to a massive contract extension. If an extension is not in the cards then so is the trade. If Sherman is willing to spend however...

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