Well, so much for a Juan Soto trade in the not-so-distant future, Dodgers fans. And now, time to turn your attention to … a Juan Soto signing when he hits free agency after 2024. Just kidding! A little. Kidding a small amount … unless … you like it?
Projecting Soto to the Dodgers in the event of a cataclysmic Nationals implosion (like, beyond what we’ve already seen) felt fair. Washington GM Mike Rizzo already packaged Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to Los Angeles last summer, extending a 1.5-year teardown that saw Anthony Rendon bolt and the rest of the 2019 World Champions’ role players leave town, too.
So, what’s Washington’s plan? Losing 10-0 to the Mets every day with Soto in tow? Or dealing Soto to jumpstart what will feel like an eternal rebuild, considering the lineup won’t have a centerpiece and may never find anyone this talented again?
Remember, when talking about young outfielders with this power/patience combination, the list starts and ends with Soto and Ted Williams. This isn’t just “someone you sell.”
Rizzo hopped on The Sports Junkies’ radio show on Wednesday to end this charade once and for all, even though he plugged up a significant Soto speculation content pipeline by doing so. According to the man in charge, a trade just isn’t happening, and an extension might be en route.
Dodgers won’t trade for Nationals’ Juan Soto
In order for the Nationals to secure their superstar, they’ll need to pivot back to their free-spending ways from pre-2019. Back then, the team had zero problem supplementing their playoff core with Patrick Corbin or donating tons of guaranteed money to retain Stephen Strasburg in the wake of that championship season. Once famous for dropping historic deferrals in all their high-dollar offers, the Nats had rededicated themselves to being behemoths.
Now? The 23-year-old Soto has said he “sees his future” in Washington, and the team offered him a genuine 13-year, $350 million offer prior to 2022 (which was declined). There’s no reason to believe Soto can’t exceed that when he reaches free agency officially, but that’s not a laughable offer, and it’s not something the two sides can’t build on.
Rizzo making his intentions perfectly clear only further confirms that Soto’s availability isn’t something the Dodgers can count on. Regrettably, the team will have to pivot to one of many other upcoming free agent All-Stars.
If Trea Turner does want to reunite with his old teammate, though, he might have to consider returning to DC.