The St. Louis Cardinals missed out in the Juan Soto sweepstakes because of one player.

Juan Soto is heading from the Washington Nationals to the San Diego Padres without stopping to meet the St. Louis Cardinals along the way. One of the favorites to land Soto, there’s one big reason why St. Louis lost out in the sweepstakes.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, Dylan Carlson is the reason.

Cardinals missed out in the Juan Soto trade sweepstakes because of 1 player

Carlson, a 23-year-old switch-hitting outfielder, was one piece the Nationals appeared to really want in any trade with the Cardinals. The winner of the bronze medal in last year’s NL Rookie of the Year race hasn’t exactly been tearing the cover off the ball this year. Through 330 trips to the plate, he is hitting only .250/.318/.405.

It’s interesting that the Cardinals would prefer to hold onto him rather than deal him away and land Soto — an obvious upgrade. Of course, the trade would have included a whole lot more. Carlson was apparently just a little too much for St. Louis to agree to anything.

Carlson would have been a nice addition to the Nationals roster immediately after a possible deal. Instead, he’ll stay put in St. Louis, where they’ll have to hope their other additions were good enough to get them a championship.

The Cardinals could always have bigger plans than just Soto. Their loaded farm system and young major league players give them a lot of leverage in any blockbuster trade they may make in the near future. Shohei Ohtani would, obviously, be the next big target for them. They’d need to wait until the offseason to get that trade done.

If Carlson was one player too much for the Cardinals to get a deal done, St. Louis may not be so lucky in future negotiations. Perhaps they’re just holding out hope that other bats, including Carlson’s, wake up and give Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado a little extra help.

The Padres are all in for 2022. The Cardinals have a plan for the future. Who got it right?

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