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#pounditTuesday, August 16, 2022

Nationals could consider Juan Soto trade?

Juan Soto in a Nats hat

Jul 30, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) in the dugout before the game against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Juan Soto’s long-term future with the Washington Nationals is unclear, and that could lead to a surprising decision for the team’s brass this season.

Rival executives believe the Nationals may attempt to trade Soto this summer, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Soto is due to become a free agent after 2024, and the Nationals have failed to sign him to a new contract. In addition, the Nationals are believed to be for sale, GM Mike Rizzo is in the final year of his contract, and the team does not look like a contender.

Soto’s rising salary could also motivate the Nationals to make a move now. Plus, the earlier the Nationals trade Soto, the more they are likely to receive in return from potentially interested teams. According to Olney, executives believe the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays could be motivated to give up a significant haul of prospects if Soto were made available.

There are plenty of reasons why this might not happen, of course. Soto is a franchise cornerstone who is only 23, and any deal would likely be hugely unpopular in Washington. That said, if this contract offer was not enough to keep Soto with the Nationals, one has to wonder if he is simply set on going into free agency. If that is the case, Washington might opt to just sell when they can.

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