Juan Soto Rejects Massive Offer from Washington Nationals, Team Open to Trading Young Star

by Nick Geddes

It’s not everyday that one of the best young sluggers in MLB becomes available, but that’s where things appear to be heading with Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto.

Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Soto recently turned down a 15-year, $440 million offer from the Nationals. The deal would have made Soto the highest-paid player in MLB history. Rosenthal adds that Washington is now open to entertaining trade offers for Juan Soto ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline.

The offer exceeded the value of Mike Trout’s deal with the Los Angeles Angels in March 2019. Trout signed for 12 years and $426.5 million. Soto’s deal, while higher in total dollars, would have made him the 20th highest-paid player in the game at $29.33 million annually. It would have locked up his age 24-38 seasons, effectively making him a National for the rest of his career.

Soto could command north of $500 million on the open market if he were to make it there. Though a trade would be most beneficial for Washington, it won’t be easy. One general manager told Jeff Passan of ESPN that trading Soto would require a “Herschel Walker deal” to come forth. The Dallas Cowboys dealt Walker at the peak of his ability to the Minnesota Vikings for five players and six draft picks back in 1989.

The Washington Nationals Never Planned on Trading Juan Soto

Trading Soto, while always discussed in league circles, was never on the table for Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. Rizzo told 106.7 the Fan in Washington D.C. on June 1 that the team would not trade Soto at this year’s deadline. Rizzo said Soto would become the face of Washington’s rebuild, as the team sits with the worst record in the entire league at 30-62. Soto is under club control through the 2024 season.

“We are not trading Juan Soto,” Rizzo said. “We made it clear to his agent [Scott Boras] and to the player. … We have every intention of building this team around Juan Soto.”

Despite Washington’s woes, Soto was named a National League All-Star this season. The selection is the second of his five-year career. Soto is slashing .247/.405/.490 with 19 home runs and 42 RBIs. Soto’s numbers are down across the board in 2022, largely contributed to a lack of protection in the lineup.