According to a report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, outfielder Juan Soto has rejected a $440 million extension from the Nationals. Rosenthal reports that the Nationals are open to trading the star outfielder.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the contract was heavily backloaded over the last six seasons, and would have been a 15-year contract. Nightengale attributes the structure of the contract and the uncertainty surrounding the Nats’ ownership as to why Soto decided to decline. Soto still has roughly 2 1/2 years remaining on his contract, meaning there is still time for an extension. It seems, however, that the Nationals may be ready to call it quits and collect a king’s ransom for their star outfielder.
Since their World Series win in 2019, the Nationals have rapidly fallen apart. The entire core of that World Series team has left, with Soto being the only one still standing. The rebuild is now in full effect. Reports indicated that the Nats were hoping to build the rebuild around Soto, however, that may no longer be the case. Trading Soto would bring a massive boost to the Nats’ farm, and may give them the pieces they need to put together their next contending team.
We covered Soto as a potential star to be traded at this year’s deadline, and it now seems as if that is a very real possibility. After Soto rejected the contract, the Nats made him available in trades. There is no question that Soto would reel in a massive haul for the Nation’s Capital, and would require teams to part ways with a few highly touted prospects. After shipping out Trea Turner and Max Scherzer last deadline, the Nats have the opportunity to really boost their rebuild this year. The move seems to make more sense for the Nats, the question is, however, where will Juan Soto end up?
There have been varying reports on where Soto may end up, so at this point, it seems to be anyone’s guess. We used the Mets, Yankees, Padres, and Blue Jays as options for the poll, as those seem to be the most commonly connected teams to Soto. There have been reports of the Brewers checking in as well. It seems that just about any team will check in, it will really just come down to what team is willing to pay the hefty price, and who wants him the most.
Owner Steve Cohen seems to have no issues dishing out the big bucks, so perhaps the Mets will wait until Soto is a free agent to make a move, nonetheless, there have been some rumors of interest here. The Mets outfield currently consists of Mark Canha, Travis Jankowski, Starling Marte, and Brandon Nimmo, which is a solid group, however, there is definitely room for Soto in there. With Soto in the mix, Soto, Marte, and a combination of Nimmo/Canha would likely be the daily starters. The Mets currently have the 20th best farm, however, so there will be a slew of teams who could up their offer. Again, the Mets’ best chance may be to wait until a hopeful test of free agency in 2 1/2 years.
In just about any big trade, the Yankees always seem to linger around. Maybe this is the time they actually pull something off. Their outfield currently consists of Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Joey Gallo, and Tim Locastro. There is more than enough room for Juan Soto in this outfield. They also have some prospect capital, ranking at 13th best in the league. The Yankees may be more focused on retaining Judge for years to come, however, if they can find the resources to bring Soto in, things could get scary in the Bronx.
GM AJ Preller loves making flashy moves, and now he has another opportunity to do just that. Putting Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. on the same roster is a nightmare scenario for opposing pitchers and may give the Padres the boost they need in the NL West. There have already been several reports of this, and the Padres seem a very plausible landing spot for Soto. Trades have thinned out the now 17th-best farm system in the league, and maybe it will only keep getting thinner. The Padres have been looking for outfield help, so if not Soto, another outfielder will likely be coming into the fold. Perhaps Preller could shock the baseball world once again.
The Blue Jays have been in search of a power lefty bat for quite some time now, and Soto fits that bill perfectly. The current outfield is a little packed with Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, George Springer, Raimel Tapia, and Bradley Zimmer all in the fold. If Soto became a real possibility for the Jays, I’m sure they would make the moves necessary to make room for him. Perhaps Gurriel Jr would even be included in the trade. The Blue Jays’ prospect depth has fallen off over the years, so they may have to get creative in a Soto trade.
Just about any contending team will check in on Soto. We will hear many reports and rumors coming from all over the place until a deal is done. A deal like this may wait until the off-season, as the Nats don’t need to be in any rush. There is a possibility things also end up coming back together between Soto and the Nats. There are lots of factors in play here. So what do you think, will Juan Soto be traded this summer? If he is, where will he end up?
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