Cubs fans should be rooting for the Yankees to trade for Juan Soto this winter

Such a move could take New York out of the running on Cody Bellinger in free agency.
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

In an ideal world, the Cubs would be fighting tooth and nail to land Juan Soto if, in fact, the Padres have him on the trade block this winter. But given the team's long-standing avoidance of record-setting contracts, it's hard to envision Soto being anything more than a rental for Chicago even if they pulled off such a blockbuster.

So assuming signing Soto to a contract that could easily exceed $400 million is not in the cards, we should start looking at the rumored Yankees' pursuit of the 25-year-old outfielder through a different lens: one that clears a potential Cody Bellinger suitor off the board this offseason.

Cubs unlikely to ever pay the money Juan Soto will want in free agency

If the Cubs aren't about paying generational talents (an unfortunate truth) and prefer to spread the dollars around the roster more, Bellinger falls into a lower, yet still impactful tier of player - one who will never command the type of money Juan Soto will should he hit the open market in 12 months.

It still might take Chicago into uncharted waters to bring Bellinger back long-term - but it'll still only probably be about half of what Soto will get. The other challenger outside of the Yankees, the San Francisco Giants, just poached Bob Melvin from the division rival Padres and have money to spend - and you know they'd love to watch Bellinger stick it to the Dodgers the rest of his career. But you have to at least like the idea of one of the lead horses in this race potentially being out of the mix in the Soto sweepstakes.

Make no mistake. We're not going to have resolution on Bellinger until late in the offseason. But the Soto rumors will play a key role in where he winds up in free agency - so even now, on the eve of the World Series, they're worth keeping an eye on.