Reports: Yankees near deal for Padres OF Juan Soto

Juan Soto appears destined for pinstripes with the New York Yankees on the verge of a blockbuster trade to acquire the 25-year-old outfielder from the San Diego Padres, according to multiple reports.

Soto, a free agent after the 2024 season, is a .284 career hitter with 160 home runs and 483 RBIs to go along with 786 total hits and .421 on-base percentage.

The Padres are slashing payroll and returned to the bargaining table this week during the MLB Winter Meetings when Yankees general manager Brian Cashman agreed to include two of the team’s top four prospects — pitchers Michael King and Drew Thorpe — according to multiple reports.

MLB Network reported Wednesday the intensified talks could involve five or six players and include more salary going from San Diego to New York in the form of infielder Jake Cronenworth, who is owed $80 million over the next seven seasons.

Signing Soto long-term became unrealistic for the Padres last winter when San Diego added shortstop Xander Bogaerts in free agency on an 11-year, $280 million contract while also retaining third baseman Manny Machado on a whopping 11-year, $350 million commitment. Those contracts came after San Diego locked up Fernando Tatis Jr. with a 14-year, $340 million pact in February 2021.

The Padres acquired Soto from the Washington Nationals at the 2022 trade deadline. At the time a two-time All-Star at age 23, Soto had declined multiple long-term contract offers from the Nationals, according to GM Mike Rizzo, including a 15-year, $440 million contract.

San Diego gave up a mammoth haul to land Soto and first baseman Josh Bell: right-hander Jarlin Susana, left-hander MacKenzie Gore, outfielder Robert Hassell III, shortstop C.J. Abrams, outfielder James Wood.

Soto hit .275 with 35 home runs, 109 RBIs and led MLB with 132 walks with the Padres last season.