With just hours left in the MLB Trade Deadline, the San Diego Padres are still seen as one of the frontrunners to pull off a blockbuster for Washington Nationals superstar Juan Soto.

They know it’s going to take a boatload of prospects in order to land Soto, but the organization is optimistic that more top-level talent can be acquired later on if the Padres traded Soto before free agency in 2024.

Via Bob Nightengale:

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The Padres currently have the 17th-best system in the MLB. Top prospects C.J. Abrams and Robert Hassell III are almost certainly going to be two players the Nationals will want in return for Soto. We’ve seen GM A.J. Preller pull off some big moves before, trading for Yu Darvish and Mike Clevinger in past years. He also gave Manny Machado a massive $300 million deal in February of 2019. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him go all-in for Soto.

San Diego is currently 12 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West but they remain in the Wild Card race. Bringing in a player like Soto would undoubtedly make this lineup much better. After all, the offense hasn’t been great, hitting just .240 as a group. Soto isn’t having a banner campaign, but there is no doubting the type of player he is. Fernando Tatis Jr is also nearing a rehab assignment and could be back in the mix not too far down the road.

Whether the Padres pull the trigger on a Soto trade or not, it’s clear they’re content with giving up prospects. Hopefully, the Nationals like the package.