Padres’ hot Juan Soto pursuit gets Josh Bell twist

The San Diego Padres are one of three reported finalists in the Juan Soto trade sweepstakes as deadline day hits, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals the other contenders, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post reports Tuesday morning “a growing sense that the Padres are the most likely landing spot” for Soto. In a “twist,” Soto’s Washington Nationals teammate Josh Bell could be headed to San Diego as well.

That would be quite the trade deadline coup for the Padres, who are 58-46 and in the thick of a Wild Card chase despite the season-long absence of Fernando Tatis Jr. San Diego already made a massive splash on Monday by acquiring closer Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers. The Padres also inked pitcher Joe Musgrove to a $100 million extension.

It seems the work isn’t done yet. AJ Preller is working the phones and doing all he can to make at least one more big splash and perhaps more. San Diego has a number of top prospects still at its disposal for a blockbuster trade, so perhaps Preller will throw the kitchen sink at the Nationals in an attempt to get both Soto and Bell.

The price is obviously astronomical for the 23-year-old Soto, who recently rejected a $440 million contract proposal from Washington. The Nationals don’t have to trade him and could bring a better offer to the table that’s more to his liking, but there’s so much smoke around a trade that it almost seems like it has to happen at this point. The time is running out, though, so it’s time for the best offers to be put on the table.

Twins, Phillies, Tyler Mahle, Reds

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