MLB trade deadline rumors: Soto sweepstakes reduced to four teams;  Yankees, Cardinals looking for rotational upgrades

MLB trade deadline rumors: Soto sweepstakes reduced to four teams; Yankees, Cardinals looking for rotational upgrades

With the August 2 MLB trade deadline just days away, teams are no doubt laying the groundwork for a number of notable swaps. Others, meanwhile, are trying to figure out whether to buy, sell or hold as we move into Tuesday. All of this means a daily dose of trading buzz, and we’re here to round up Friday.

Soto competitions are reduced to four teams

Negotiations continue for a potential trade with Nationals right fielder Juan Soto. The field of applicants was trimmed down to just four teams, according to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ. Bowden also reports that things are moving “at a rapid pace” and Soto will very likely turn down any renewal offers from the Nationals.

Some of the more prominent teams we’ve seen in Soto rumors have been the Cardinals and Padres, although up to nearly a dozen have been mentioned and there’s no exact word on which teams could make the bottom four here.

Yankees want to start pitching

The New York Yankees recently added outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the team, and now their focus appears to be strengthening their rotation. Here’s the latest from Jon Heyman:

“The Yankees are casting a wider net to start and unsurprisingly they’re backing Frankie Montas as well. However, Luis Castillo appears to be their number one choice. Noah Syndergaard is in third place.”

The Yankees have had one of baseball’s best rotations yet this season, but concerns about regression in some corners of that rotation and Luis Severino’s injury mean they’re looking for reinforcements. Castillo, the Reds’ right-hander, is by most reports the deadline’s pitching prize, so competition for him should be tough. Otherwise, the A’s’ Montas would be a snag now that he’s overcome his recent shoulder ailment. As for more modest goals, Heyman also lists the Pirates’ Jose Quintana alongside the Angels’ Syndergaard.

Cardinals target rotational upgrades

The St. Louis Cardinals — currently tied for the last NL wildcard spot and within reach of the first-seeded Brewers in the National League Central — are reportedly one of the teams with very real intentions to land Juan Soto from the Nationals. At the same time, however, they have to deal with a rotation that was never deep from the start and has been riddled with injuries. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the rotation is actually a priority for the Cardinals’ front office as the deadline nears. Also, the Cardinals want to add significant upgrades to a corps that has been effective but is currently struggling to fill spots. Specifically, Goold reports that the Marlins’ Montas and Pablo Lopez are of interest to the Cards. Either would be a significant upgrade for St. Louis. Of course, the competition for both arm figures is fierce.

White Sox don’t want to sell

The Chicago White Sox, who clinched an A Division title in 2021 and a playoff berth in the shortened 2020 season, had high expectations for 2022, but so far they haven’t lived up to them in any big way. The Sox go into Friday’s table 49-49 by minus 19 runs, and that’s not usually the profile of a team looking to add pieces by deadline. However, thanks to the American League Central’s surrounding weakness, the White Sox are only three games away from first place. Also, the SportsLine Projection System gives them a 49.4 percent chance of making the postseason — the highest odds of any team in AL Central.

With that in mind, Jon Morosi reports that Sox GM Rick Hahn will not attempt to sell any notable names before the deadline:

Hahn has previously indicated that adding to the bullpen will be a deadline priority, and they could also use a left-handed hitter in outfield (and ideally at second base too). At least the Sox are keeping the band together in hopes that they can go on to win the division title.

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