Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto is one of the best players in baseball and on pace for a Hall of Fame career. Amid uncertainty surrounding Nationals’ ownership, the NL MVP candidate is now being floated in MLB trade rumors.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, rival MLB executives believe the Nationals might be motivated to trade Soto this season. The 23-year-old outfielder is still under contract through 2024, but the belief is his contract demands could make a potential sale of the team more difficult.
Juan Soto contract: $17.1 million salary (2022), arbitration-eligible 2023-’24
Soto reportedly turned down a 13-year, $350 million contract extension this offseason. While it would have made him one of the highest paid MLB players, it also would have been a below-market deal. Furthermore, Soto is represented by agent Scott Boras and that means the star outfielder will likely test free agency when first eligible. With the Nationals not close to competing, a blockbuster deal is at least possible.
Let’s examine four potential landing spots for a Juan Soto trade and what it might cost to acquire him.
San Francisco Giants add new face of the franchise
Following the retirement of Buster Posey, the San Francisco Giants are a perennial contender without a face of the franchise. This is also a team that lacks an elite bat in its lineup, something that could prove to be an issue long-term. Farhan Zaidi likes making smaller trades to fill out his roster, but the opportunity to land Soto would be a franchise-changing move.
San Francisco Giants trade: Marco Luciano, Joey Bart, Luis Matos, Kyle Harrison, Mike Yastrzemski, Will Bednar, Aeverson Arteaga, Manuel Mercedes
Washington Nationals trade: Juan Soto, Patrick Corbin
San Francisco unloads the top of its farm system. Marco Luciano (No. 11 in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100), Luis Matos (59th in top 100) and Kyle Harrison (71st) headline a package. The Giants would also likely need to attach Joey Bart and Mike Yastrzemski, providing the Nationals with cheap MLB talent under team control through 2025.
There’s a possibility that Washington isn’t interested in including Corbin’s contract at the risk of it decreasing what it receives back in return. However, the Giants should be willing to take it as part of a sweetener.
Patrick Corbin contract: $23.41 million salary (2022), $24.41 million salary (2023), $35 million payroll hit (2024)
San Francisco has the money to afford the hit, that’s the benefit of the franchise having very few big contracts on its long-term payroll. As for Corbin’s role, the Giants could see if their pitching coaches can figure anything out with him to be a fill-in starter.
Seattle Mariners make a splash with superstar
Jerry Dipoto loves nothing more than making blockbuster trades. The Seattle Mariners likely have one superstar with Julio Rodriguez, a future MVP threat. However, Seattle could really benefit from adding a co-star in the outfield. What better way than to pair two Dominican stars in a market filled with excitement for this club’s future.
Seattle Mariners trade: Noelvi Marte, Jarred Kelenic, Kyle Lewis, George Kirby, Matt Brash
Washington Nationals trade: Juan Soto
The proposed deal is more than what San Francisco gives up in a deal. However, part of the reason for that ins Seattle doesn’t take back a bloated contract. Additionally, two of the young pieces attached in this deal aren’t as well-regarded as before. While it would be a substantial price, the Mariners get a future Hall of Famer outfielder by paying it.