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#pounditThursday, August 18, 2022

Nationals GM addresses Juan Soto trade rumors

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

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was the latest person to shut down the notion that Nationals outfielder Juan Soto will be traded this offseason.

In a Wednesday appearance on “The Sports Junkies” radio show on 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C., Rizzo reaffirmed that the team would not trade Soto.

“We are not trading Juan Soto,” Rizzo said. “These journalists have to fill a blank sheet of paper every day. It’s a good thing to get some attention on a story.

“But we have every intention of building this team around Juan Soto, and we’ve spoken with his agent many, many times recently. [We] made it clear to him that we are not interested in trading him.”

Rizzo’s comments line up with prior reporting by Jon Heyman of the New York Post. A Nats person told Heyman that trade rumors involving Soto were not funny.

Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, also denied that a trade would happen.

The Nationals have Soto under team control for two more years, and it wouldn’t make sense to deal him while he’s still making a team-friendly $17.1 million this season. While the Nationals have gotten off to an 18-34 record to start the season, they did win the 2019 World Series after a 19-31 start.

The 23-year-old Soto is batting .232 with nine home runs and 16 RBI in 51 games this season. His 42 walks lead the majors. The one-time All-Star also has an .821 OPS. His 145 walks and .465 OBP led the league in 2021. That type of production is not something any team should want to trade, and it sounds like the Nats don’t have plans to.

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