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#pounditSunday, September 25, 2022

Report: Nationals make huge change on Juan Soto trade stance

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

The Washington Nationals are entertaining a possible trade that could lead to a seismic shift in Major League Baseball.

The Nationals are open to trading outfielder Juan Soto after the All-Star turned down a huge contract offer from the organization, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Soto rejected a 15-year, $440 million offer from the Nationals, a contract that would have made him the highest-paid player in MLB history, albeit not in average annual value. Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, typically takes his clients to free agency to test their value on the open market.

Soto is under team control for two more seasons after this one, so the Nationals do not have to trade him this season. The outfielder would be poised to hit the open market at the age of 26, which could put him in line for a deal worth over $500 million. According to Rosenthal, Soto’s decision to reject the $440 million offer prompted the organization to question whether they could ever offer him enough money to convince him to re-sign. Previous reports suggested that Soto turned down a slightly lower extension offer last winter.

We don’t know what the asking price would be in a Soto trade, but there is no doubt the prospect demands would be astronomical. Only a few teams would likely be able to fashion a package good enough to get Washington’s attention. Any team trading for him would also have to prepare to potentially pay him over $20 million annually in his two remaining arbitration-eligible seasons.

The Nationals have previously shut down any notion of a Soto trade. If $440 million is not enough to get him to sign, though, they can hardly be blamed for at least doing their due diligence on a deal.

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