Washington Nationals quarterback Juan Soto is a 23-year-old superstar. In just four and a half years in the major league, he has established himself as one of the best pure players in the game. He’s a longtime MVP candidate, a master of disc discipline – and now he’s on the commercial block.
Every report, Soto recently turned down an offer from the Nationals that would make him the highest-paid player in MLB history. Imagine you are 23 years old and have the potential to lose $440 million in the next 15 years. What a good player Soto is. That’s how much Mike Trout will earn under his current contract ($429.6 million). That’s just $15 million less than the combined value of the two largest deals in Nationals franchise history – Max Scherzer ($245 million) and Stephen Strasburg ($210 million). That’s almost The amount is 2.5 times the Bonds Barry earns in his entire career.
According to Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, the two-time All-Star star is looking for a $500 million contract. Soto is on his way to becoming a free agent after his 26-year-old season.
Soto’s decision to turn down the offer caused the Nationals GM Mike Rizzo to change his mind. Throughout the season, Rizzo has made it clear that the Nats don’t want to swap Soto – just about the most watchable player in Washington – this season. Instead, Rizzo believes Soto will be at the heart of the team’s rebuilding. However, with Rizzo seemingly unwilling to pay the hefty price Soto wants, GM is at an impasse. Will he stick to his gun and drop another $100 million on this young phenom, or does he bite the bullet and take him away for dozens of prospects and the peace of mind knowing he doesn’t owe any money? Anyone on my half-billion dollar list?
Rizzo is picking door 2. That said, with Soto under the team’s control for two more seasons, the Nationals still have all the leverage in the world in negotiations. Let’s say the Dodgers come forward and say they’re willing to put up the top three leads to get Soto. Rizzo has all the strength to say “No, we will pass,” because Soto will still be a country at the end of the season. Rizzo should expect a king’s ransom for the Washington slug. I’m not saying the Dodgers’ top three prospects won’t be a good run, but if Rizzo believes he can get more for Soto, he shouldn’t bite into the first semi-nice offer. presented in its own way.
That said, the longer Rizzo holds Soto, the more his value decreases. As Soto still has contract for three more pennants, keeping him past the August 2 deadline means he is now only available for two pennants. Still, two playoffs is a long stretch and a godsend for any strong team hungry for a championship, like the Yankees, Mets, Padres, Phillies, Blue Jays, White Sox and Brewers (although Soto does). there may be no price range left for an extension), or perhaps the Dodgers.
If Rizzo doesn’t believe a deal with Soto will be reached, he can still wait until the 2023 transaction deadline to complete the transaction. Given the claims Rizzo made before being rejected by Soto, it’s unlikely that any team would seriously call Soto off the Nats roster, so it’s likely the first few calls Rizzo received now will be low balls to test the waters. Yes, there are still more than two weeks left before the deadline ends, but it is unlikely that any team will make an offer that Rizzo will actually agree to, especially since Soto’s value won’t drop significantly. until one calendar year from now or more. Rizzo should expect great offers to start arriving around the start of winter meetings in the upcoming season.
So, what should the Nations expect for Soto? At least two of a team’s top prospects. That needs to be the one to initiate the conversation. The national players probably also want an MLB-ready talent to draw fans to the ballpark. Obviously, this player won’t be anywhere near Soto’s talent level, but someone interesting with top All-Star potential should also be on the table. Combine that with a few other (maybe three or four) mid-to-lower leads and you’ve got yourself a deal. If Rizzo really wanted to be smart, he’d throw Patrick Corbin on the field, too.
It’s no secret that Corbin has been one of the worst signings in MLB over the past year and a half. The Nationals got him after a 2018 campaign that saw a left-hand record of 3.15 ERA and a fifth-place finish in the National League Cy Young race. Corbin had a great 2019 with Washington, but since 2020 he’s become a huge liability with the pearl in his hand. Corbin remains under contract through the end of the 2024 season and owes nearly $50 million in that time – all guaranteed. If the national team can remove him from their list, that will be a huge plus. Sure, that would reduce the value of just Soto, but taking Corbin off the team’s payroll is a big enough win. I’m sure some of the top teams in the MLB would be willing to sacrifice that for Soto. I mean, is money even really an issue for the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, Phillies or Padres? Not really.
So here are a few packages that I can see made for Soto and Corbin.
New York Yankees:
SS Oswald Peraza (AAA) – the team’s No. 2 prospect (#38 out of ) MLB . Top 100 Prospects List)
BY Jason Domínguez (A) – the team’s #3 prospect (39th in the Top 100)
Ken Waldichuk Film Festival (AAA) – the 5th most promising team (72 in the Top 100)
By Joey Gallo (MLB)
RHP Lucas Luetge (MLB)
RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (MLB)
San Diego Padres:
CJ Abrams Utilities (MLB)
BY Robert Hassell (A+) – the team’s top prospect (23rd in the Top 100)
By Trent Grisham (MLB)
RHP Reiss Knehr (AAA) – the team’s #6 prospect
RHP Reggie Lawson (AA) – the team’s 16th prospect
San Francisco Giants:
SS Marco Luciano (A+) – the team’s top prospect (9th in the Top 100)
Kyle Harrison Film Festival (AA) – the 2nd most promising team (25th in the Top 100)
OF Luis Matos (A+) – the team’s #3 prospect (65th in the Top 100)
RHP Gregory Santos (AAA) – the team’s 14th prospect
By Luis Gonzalez (MLB)
Chicago White Sox:
1B Andrew Vaughn (MLB)
SP Michael Kopech (MLB)
SS Colson Montgomery (A+) – team’s #1 prospect (92 in Top 100)
OF Oscar Colas (AA) – the team’s No. 2 prospect
SS Jose Rodriguez (AA) – the team’s number 3 prospect
SS Romy Gonzalez (AAA) – the team’s 7th prospect
Los Angeles Dodgers:
C Diego Cartaya (+A) – the team’s #1 prospect (#13 in the Top 100)
RHP Bobby Miller (AA) – team’s #2 prospect (26th place in the Top 100)
RHP Julio Urías (MLB)
RHP Brusdar Graterol (MLB)
By James Outman (AAA) – Lead #17
Obviously, there are more than five teams that might be interested in Soto, but these fake deals are an example of the buying and selling patterns we should expect in exchange for Soto. As you can tell, even with Corbin’s terrible contract in the mix, Soto is still worth a ton of talent. However, he is worth it.