The biggest looming question ahead of Major League Baseball's trade deadline (6 p.m. ET on Tuesday night) is whether or not the Washington Nationals will trade superstar outfielder Juan Soto. Soto was recently made available by the Nationals after he rejected a 15-year, $440 million extension. The Nationals would seem to have incentive to move him at the deadline, as the franchise is expected to be purchased this offseason by new owners. The incoming owners would likely prefer to not make their first order of business trading a 23-year-old on a Hall-of-Fame track.
Below, CBS Sports will be keeping track of all the Soto-related rumors, news, and notes throughout the day.
Padres the favorites nearing the deadline?
According to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post, there is a "growing sense" that the Padres might be the favorites to land Soto -- and, perhaps, first baseman Josh Bell. (Bell, an impending free agent, is considered one of the other top hitters remaining on the trade market.) Multiple reports -- including one from Jon Heyman -- have since indicated there is growing optimism a deal will get done, though nothing is finalized.
It's not clear who the Padres would offer the Nationals in return, and Bell's inclusion would seem to up the asking price. In theory, the Padres could build a package that includes some combination of infielder C.J. Abrams, injured left-handers MacKenzie Gore and Adrian Morejon, and prospects Robert Hassell III, James Wood, and Jackson Merrill.
It should be noted the Nationals reportedly have several minor leaguers en route to Washington. At minimum, that means the Nationals are preparing for the possibility of a trade(s) prior to Tuesday night's game.
Cardinals not willing to include Carslon and top prospects?
According to MLB.com's Jon Morosi, the Cardinals are unwilling to part with big-league outfielder Dylan Carlson in any Soto trade that also sends out their top prospects -- presumably third baseman Jordan Walker and/or shortstop Masyn Winn.
Carlson, 23, is a former top prospect himself. In 267 big-league games, he's batted .253/.325/.419 (107 OPS+) with 27 home runs. The Cardinals seemingly believe there's more room for him to grow, that or, as is often the case, they're playing hardball. After all, a lot can change over the course of a day in negotiations, especially when there's a deadline encroaching.