Phillies Viewed Among Top Landing Spots for $500 Million Superstar Free Agent

Juan Soto

Getty Outfielder Juan Soto is expected to be the top MLB free agent next winter. The Phillies are viewed as a top potential landing spot.

Outfielder Juan Soto is currently preparing for the 2024 season, which will be his first with the New York Yankees. But could it also be his last campaign with the club? After all, the left-handed slugger is set to become a free agent next winter.

There will be plenty of interest from big-market teams for the Scott Boras client, who will likely command a contract north of $500 million. He won’t hit the open market for another six months, but it’ll be something that’s talked about quite frequently until the season is over. Which organizations are already seen as some of the top landing spots? Bleacher Report’s Zachary D. Rymer listed 10 teams that could currently fit the bill, which includes the Philadelphia Phillies.

Rymer listed cases for and against each team being a fit. “‘You win with star players’ is president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s philosophy, and the club’s roster is largely built on a certain type of star,” he said to support a Philly pursuit of the slugger. However, he also noted the club’s hopes of extending starting pitcher Zack Wheeler as one of the potential roadblocks to fitting Soto’s projected salary into their payroll.

Phillies Are No Stranger to Taking Big Free-Agent Swings

The Phillies have built a significant part of their core group of players by signing them to big-money deals in free agency. Bryce Harper ($330 million), Kyle Schwarber ($79 million), Nick Castellanos ($100 million) and Zack Wheeler ($118 million) are just a handful who have been acquired on the open market.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski only made one major splash this winter. It included re-signing starting pitcher Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million contract. Despite saying Philly’s starting rotation was set, the organization still went after Japanese hurler Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

They didn’t just pursue him, either. The Phillies knew they were an underdog in the sweepstakes, so they offered him more money than any other team. Yamamoto eventually signed a 12-year, $325 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers — the richest pitcher contract in MLB history.

So, considering all this, it’s unlikely that Soto’s high asking price would scare the Phillies away, even if it’d be hard to manage the payroll and potential luxury tax implications.

Soto Will Be of Interest to Many Big-Market Teams

It’s no secret that Soto is a generational talent, especially when he steps into the left-handed batter’s box. The Phillies would be far from the only big-market team inquiring about his services upon hitting the open market.

Rymer ranked the Phillies as the sixth-best landing spot for the outfielder. The New York Mets and Yankees take the first two spots. Those two are already prepping for a future bidding war. The Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants follow at three and four. They both lost out on Shohei Ohtani to the Dodgers, so each organization has money to spend for the right player. The Chicago Cubs are also ranked fifth, right in front of Philadelphia.

This past offseason was fascinating because a unique talent like Ohtani became available. Next winter will be just as interesting thanks to Soto.

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