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Wheeling, dealing among MLB teams should make for fun couple days

It’s finally trade season.

In my opinion, we’re in the midst of one of the most interesting times of the baseball season as teams buy and sell, rumors swirl and contenders look to bolster their teams for a potential late-season run.

I feel like I should mention, I’m writing this late Saturday and it is entirely possible some of what I talk about will be out of date or flat-out wrong by the time you’re reading it. I hope some of it is.

It’s been a slow build to the deadline, which sits at 5 pm Central Tuesday instead of the usual July 31. And don’t forget, there will be at least a couple of trades we don’t learn about probably until hours after the deadline . They just have to be turned in to the league office by 5 pm, reporting comes later.

We’ve seen a couple of deals including the Kansas City Royals already as the team looks to sell off veterans and make room for new young stars in the everyday lineup. Carlos Santana was shipped off to the Seattle Mariners — where he’s had a pretty successful couple of weeks — for two minor-league pitchers. The Royals then sent Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees for another three pitching prospects.

The Royals are clearly focused on bolstering the pitching rotation as, hopefully, future star position players Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, Vinnie Pasquantino and Nick Pratto come into their own.

Kansas City has room to keep selling, Whit Merrifield and Michael A. Taylor could both bring the Royals some more prospects. And every contender is always looking to buy a bullpen arm.

The Mariners also went out and brought in probably the best starting pitcher available — Luis Castillo — in a deal Friday with the Cincinnati Reds. The Mariners sent four prospects, all below the Triple-A level, with three of those rated in the team’s top five. There were reportedly 12 teams talking to the Reds about Castillo, including the Yankees who just missed out.

The deal probably takes the Mariners out of the most anticipated trade of this deadline.

They had reportedly been in talks with the Washington Nationals for 23-year-old superstar Juan Soto, who became available during the All-Star break after turning down a 15-year, $440-million contract offer. The Nationals are supposedly going to make one more offer to Soto, but reports say if he turns that down as well, he’s on the move before Tuesday.

I don’t believe Soto will be traded at the deadline (here’s where I hope I’m wrong by the time you read this). It’s too big a deal, two franchises will be fundamentally altered. There are no comparisons in recent trade deadline history.

Imagine if the Cardinals tried to trade Albert Pujols in 2004, the Angels tried to trade Mike Trout in 2014 or the Mariners tried to trade Ken Griffey Jr. in 1992.

There hasn’t been a player this talented, this young and this primed to make a massive amount of money very soon on the market (Some have reported he wants to be the first $500-million player). Not to mention the team who gets Soto would have complete control of him for the next two seasons, and three playoff runs, as well before he has a chance to reach free agency.

If a trade does happen, it will likely take at least a young starter or two off the other team’s major-league roster as well as three or more of its top prospects.

The San Diego Padres reportedly offered CJ Abrams — a rookie shortstop who has been touted as one of baseball’s top prospects — MacKenzie Gore — arguably the best pitching prospect of the last few years — Robert Hassell III — an outfielder ranked as the No. 23 prospect in baseball — Adrian Morejon — a left-handed pitcher ranked No. 49 — and Joshua Mears — an outfielder ranked as the Padres’ No. 8 prospect.

That’s more talent and high-ranked prospects than the Detroit Tigers traded for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis in 2007.

The Padres clearly want Soto, as do the Yankees, Cardinals and New York Mets, reportedly.

It’s possible a trade could happen, but I don’t think a deal that big will get done at the deadline. It seems much more likely as a December trade, when there is more time to talk.

But that shouldn’t overpower the rest of the deadline.

How much more can the Yankees improve when their current roster got them to 69-33? Who will the Houston Astros add to try to keep up with the AL East powerhouse? Are the Mariners done as they bid for their first postseason appearance since 2001? Will a surprise team jump in on a major player as they try to fight their way into the new expanded postseason?

A lot of players will move in the next few days and they will make big impacts on teams and standings as we get into the final two months of the season.

As we move through the next few days, I’ll just be checking my phone for the “Breaking News” notifications, and I can’t wait for the next one.

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