If the Washington Nationals don’t at least try to make Juan Soto the highest-paid player in the sport before he hits free agency, it’ll possibly be regarded as one of the biggest misses in the history of baseball.
They might not, though, which recently spurred trade rumors surrounding the 23-year-old superstar, with some of those briefly featuring the New York Yankees. But with the way Aaron Judge has been playing? Don’t count on this happening.
Additionally, with the Nationals cratering (12-26 on the year) and some of their player development endeavors not coming together as quickly as they’d hoped, Soto’s eventual departure via trade is starting to feel inevitable, because there’s no way Washington GM Mike Rizzo lets him walk for nothing.
So that’s once again gotten Soto’s name tossed into the rumor mill, and some insiders are beginning to narrow down the potential destinations for him.
Any guesses? At the very least, the Yankees know they can likely check Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Boston and Houston off the list due to each franchise’s unwillingness to spend on the game’s top talent.
Notice one team we omitted from that list, though? Yeah, fans aren’t going to want to hear any of this.
"“Front-office types point to two teams that might be really motivated to move on Soto: The hyper aggressive San Diego Padres, who could dangle infielder C.J. Abrams and pitcher MacKenzie Gore; and the Blue Jays, who can dream on a left-handed star to complement the right-handed hitting Vladimir Guerrero Jr.”"
What’s worse? Thinking about Soto ending up with the division-rival Blue Jays, or listening to Yankees fans propose trade packages for the Nationals’ slugger on Twitter only to have condescending verified accounts make it a point to highlight the absolute dumbest ones from the sect of the base that lacks actual baseball knowledge?
Then again, are we to view the Jays as a viable destination? After offloading a ton of talent in trades over the last few years, MLB.com ranks Toronto’s farm system as 21st in the league. Additionally, does this mean the Blue Jays aren’t going to pay their own guys, a core that features Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Alek Manoah, and a few others? And how will Soto even fit on the payroll with his escalating arbitration costs? Toronto has $177.5 million, $204.2 million and $191.6 million committed to the books from 2023-2025.
A Soto trade is complicated for everyone involved, given his stature, likely record-setting arbitration costs, and the amount of prospect capital the Nats will try to demand in return. Honestly, Yankees fans might be fine with the Jays undertaking this assignment that feels like it’ll be more of a headache than anything.