Yankees’ Brian Cashman sheds light on Juan Soto trade talks with Nationals

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The Yankees wanted Juan Soto. General manager Brian Cashman was in the batter’s box ready to take a big swing for a 23-year-old superstar outfielder with two seasons of team control after this year.

His counterpart paid little attention.

Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo apparently preferred what other clubs had to offer.


With the Yankees wanting to know what it would take, the Nationals focused on working a deal with two other clubs before making a trade-deadline day blockbuster on Tuesday, Soto and first baseman Josh Bell to the San Diego Padres for two touted rookies, three highly-ranked prospects and a former Bronx fan favorite, Luke Voit.

“There was no surprise when he landed in San Diego,” Cashman said Thursday during a WFAN radio appearance on Carton & Roberts.

The Yankees also struck out trying to talk the Los Angeles Angles into trading one of their superstars. It didn’t matter what they were willing to offer, pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani was not available for the Yankees or anyone.

Without tampering, Cashman discreetly confirmed that he talked to the Angels about Ohtani as well as the Nationals about Soto.

Well., I can’t answer that directly, but I can tell you I engage the 29 other opponents of ours at all levels of their rosters for what was in play and then asked about players that might not even have been in play to see if I could coerce those opponents to put them in play,” Cashman said. “That’s the nature of the beast. On behalf of all the GMs in the game, there are so many conversations and failed efforts on a lot of different platforms that you have nothing to show for it.”

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Cashman then was asked if he ever felt he was making progress with Rizzo on a deal for Soto.

“No,” he responded. “There was nothing coming out of the Washington operation that (Soto’s) best match was coming our way.”

Detailing why he felt this way, Cashman brought up Rizzo dealing ace Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers before last year’s traded deadline.

“You have to know your opponent, and Mike Rizzo is a former scouting director,” Cashman said. “So I think there are certain things that he’s going to gravitate to and he wants, and his heart and eyes were set on a certain very few locations more so than others. I guess that’s the best way to answer that.

“So I think it was very predictable in the end that San Diego was the most likely candidate, (the Padres) or St. Louis. We actually were able to determine that we necessarily weren’t a match as much as other places. And so I think it was clear from the industry as well as for myself that we weren’t in a driver’s seat for something like that. It sounded like the Cardinals and the Padres. I can’t even say that that was a true and accurate statement, but that’s what all the noise was about.”

Rizzo said yes when the Padres offered a package that he couldn’t turn down.

— C.J. Abrams, a rookie shortstop who was drafted sixth overall in 2016 and was San Diego’s No. 1 prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 9 overall at the start of the year.

— MacKenzie Gore, a rookie left-hander who was drafted third overall in 2017, the Padres’ preseason No. 4 prospect and No. 86 in MLB Pipeline’s top 100.

— Robert Hassell III, a High-A outfielder, the Padres No. 1 prospect and No. 21 overall.

— James Wood, a low-A outfielder, the Padres’ No. 3 prospect and No. 88 in MLB Pipeline’s top 100.

— Jarlin Susana, an 18-year-old, 6-foot-6 rookie league right-hander who was signed out of the Dominican Republic January in 2022 for $1.7 million.

— Eric Hosmer, a 2016 All-Star and four-time Gold Glove first baseman.

When Hosmer activated the no-trade clause in his contract to veto being dealt to Washington, the Nationals agreed to take Voit, the former Yankees slugger who led the majors with 22 home runs in 2020.

The Padres also picked up Bell, a switch-hitting first baseman who was All-Star in 2019.

“We set the bar very, very high, and one team exceeded it, and that’s the deal we made,” Rizzo said. “Props to the San Diego Padres. They’re not afraid and ownership’s not afraid and (GM) A.J. Preller’s not afraid and they were aggressive. And we made a deal that you call historical.”

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Randy Miller may be reached at [email protected].

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