Why Giants chasing Juan Soto gives Duane Kuiper 'mixed emotions'

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Why Kuip has 'mixed emotions' about a Juan Soto chase originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- Major League Baseball's trade deadline is fast approaching, but with the exception of the New York Yankees acquiring Andrew Benintendi on Wednesday, it has been a relatively quiet stretch.

The annual draft is to blame for a lot of that, as the move to mid-July kept front offices busier than they normally are in the weeks ahead of the deadline, but it certainly didn't help that Juan Soto was dropped into the madness right as it was ramping up.

Soto is by far the biggest name available before Aug. 2, and if any deal gets done, it could be the biggest move in trade deadline history. The winning team, either now or in the offseason, will likely give up four to five top prospects and/or young, cost-controlled big leaguers.

From a Giants perspective, that would mean giving up Marco Luciano and Kyle Harrison, plus several others. Logan Webb's name would likely get brought up, too. While the Giants aren't thought to be in the center of trade discussions, Soto does make a lot of sense for the organization, either now or if he's available in the offseason.

On this week's Giants Talk, broadcaster Duane Kuiper discussed how Soto is a "generational player" because of his success at such a young age, but noted that the cost could be prohibitive.

"I really have mixed emotions," Kuiper said. "I don't think any team certainly wouldn't want to have him right in the middle of their lineup, but then again you have to ask, at what cost? We've really spent the last two, three years talking about and fantasizing about the minor league system that the Giants have right now, and they've got three or four guys that are really coveted by us because we've been following them now for that amount of time.

"Those are exactly the guys that the Nationals would want, so you have to ask yourself, do you want to blow up the minor system for Juan Soto, and a lot of people would say absolutely yes. But I'm on the other line that says I've invested so much time and thought in watching these young prospects that I really don't want to see them excel in another uniform."

Luciano and Harrison are both top 25 prospects across baseball. They're the most decorated Giants minor leaguers since Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, but they're still relatively unproven prospects, and it could be a few more years before the 20-year-olds are entrenched in San Francisco. Luciano is still in High-A ball, while Harrison is pitching so well in Double-A that he could finish this season with Triple-A Sacramento, making a 2023 debut likely.

The reason teams would even consider sending over a package like that -- and multiple teams can beat it -- is because of what Soto has already accomplished at the age of 23. He has finished in the top five in MVP voting each of the last two seasons and has a .964 OPS and 118 homers since breaking into the big leagues at 19.

The Giants' farm system doesn't look as deep as it did a few months ago, so trading any top prospects -- especially one who looks somewhat close to the big leagues like Harrison -- could lead to a couple of more seasons without help from the minors. In theory, a Soto trade could leave the Giants with some of what they had with Barry Bonds, who played several seasons where he was the best hitter in baseball but was surrounded by an aging roster lacking talent.

RELATED: Report: Giants not currently interested in selling at deadline

But Kuiper said he wouldn't be worried about that aspect of any trade, noting that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris have shown that they find creative ways to add talent to a big league roster. Mike Yastrzemski and LaMonte Wade Jr. are the biggest examples, but this season has brought meatier roles for Luis Gonzalez and Thairo Estrada, among others.

"I think our guys, Farhan and Scott, have done such a good job of being able to pick good players around other good players, or good players around a fantastic player," he said. "I think they could do that and I think they could do that very well."

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