Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic recently reported that Washington Nationals superstar slugger Juan Soto rejected a 440 million dollars deal over 15 years. The Nationals are trying to extend their 23 year old star to a long term deal but their attempts thus far have been unsuccessful. Soto rejected a lot of money but if you calculate the money over the term of the deal, it’s around 30 million per year. Soto and his agent Scott Boras who is known for being really tough to deal with probably believe he could get around Mike Trout money. Trout is getting 35 million per year over a 14 year deal. The amount of money and the way the money was structured may just be a few of the reasons Soto rejected the deal. The Nationals are one of the worst teams in baseball after winning a World Series in 2019. Soto doesn’t want to keep losing. Rosenthal also reported that the Nationals are now willing to listen to trade offers for their young stud after telling Soto and Boras that a trade is off the table just a few weeks ago if they can’t agree on a long term deal. 29 teams should be constantly calling the Nationals front office right now. The Yankees should be one of the first phone calls.
It will take practically a team’s entire farm system to acquire a player of Soto’s caliber. He’s a top 5 player in the game and could argue he’s the best hitter in the game. He has a career 293 batting average and 968 OPS. Those are 500 million dollars worth numbers. Obviously that’s an insane number to pay any player and it’s quite a big gamble, but it could be worth it for a player like Soto and it’s the number that he’s most likely looking for. I think the Yankees need to at least be involved and be somewhat aggressive in trying to get Soto. It is risky to gut your farm system and negotiating a contract extension isn’t the easiest thing to do. However, they wouldn’t necessarily have to extend him right away.
Ideally, you want to get the extension done with the player as soon as possible because you’re giving up your future for him. However, Soto won’t be a free agent until after the 2024 season so you have at least 2 and a half years of Soto trying to help you win championships if he is indeed traded by the August 2nd trade deadline. In the Yankees case, they have their own superstar to deal with on a contract extension in Aaron Judge. Judge is a free agent after this season and he is too a top 5 player in the game and could win AL MVP. The Yankees and Aaron Judge both want to get an extension done but so far the attempts have been unsuccessful. Judge is 30 which is 7 years older than Soto. That is a staggering difference. As much as Yankees fans including myself love Judge, Soto seems like the better investment for the rest of their careers. Of course, I would love the Yankees to have both Judge and Soto for the long haul but it seems unlikely that owner Hal Steinbrenner will allow general manager Brian Cashman to give out 2 long term contracts in potentially the same time span. A potential package could include top prospects Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, Oswald Peraza, Ken Waldichuk, and Austin Wells. If the Nationals want a player that’s already in the majors, the Yankees could include Gleyber Torres and try to keep one of Peraza or Volpe out of potential trade talks.
In my opinion, I still believe the Nationals and Soto can find common ground on an extension. But even if they don’t, I really find it hard to believe he’ll be traded in less than 2 weeks. Trading for Soto would be franchise altering but I would imagine teams would want to take their time on deciding on gutting their farm system and committing all that money. That process usually takes more than 14 days. Soto could realistically be traded in the offseason where teams have the time to reset. However, there is a chance a trade happens now and the Yankees should try to trade for this young stud. You can’t prospect hug every prospect in the minors. Judge has pretty much indicated that he would love to share an outfield with Soto. You’re the Yankees, you can make it work.