Juan Soto officially hit the trade market when it was reported that he turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract offer from the Washington Nationals, who are now listening to offers for the young slugger, and of course, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been included in the conversation.
The idea of Soto in Dodger blue is a dream for many fans. He’s one of the best young hitters in the game and is still only 23 years old. With two more years of team control after the 2022 season, the Dodgers would have plenty of time to pony up a $500 million+ contract offer to Soto, which many expect he’ll earn.
While it’s always easy to fawn over the latest big-name trade target on the market, the reality of the situation is that the Dodgers are better off not trading for Soto. As crazy as it sounds, it’s simply the reality.
Why the Los Angeles Dodgers are better off not trading for Juan Soto
The main driving force here is the price. Soto is going to get a monumental haul considering he has two more years of team control and still gets a young driver’s fee from Enterprise. Thought the trade for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner was huge? A Soto trade would be triple the size.
The starting point for a Soto trade is likely a package consisting of Gavin Lux, Diego Cartaya, Bobby Miller and Andy Pages. For those keeping track at home, that is the Dodgers’ youngest player on the active roster (who is playing really well and is a former top prospect himself), as well as the team’s top two prospects and its top outfield prospect.
Cartaya, Miller and Pages rank 13th, 26th and 47th on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, respectively. Again, the starting point for Soto is three top-50 prospects and a former top-two prospect who is second to only Freddie Freeman in on-base percentage on the Dodgers this year.
As great as Soto is, he’s not worth that much for the Dodgers, who would be surrendering far too much depth and valuable assets for one player. First of all, his defense is atrocious and he’s going to have to be moved to the designated hitter’s spot at some point (especially with Mookie Betts already in right field). That’s an easy fix for the Dodgers this year, but makes things less flexible in the future.
The other hurdle in this conversation is Scott Boras, whose clients notoriously don’t sign with the Dodgers. While we can convince ourselves that the team will lock down Soto if they trade for him, that might not be the case at all.
In fact, unless some team comes over the top with a massive offer, it’s in Soto’s best interest to simply play it out and wait until he’s a free agent. I know it’s absurd to say that Soto will turn down a $500 million offer, but with how Boras operates, that’s probably what he will do.
The market for players always goes up. Barring a freak injury, Soto’s value in December of 2024 is going to be even higher than it is now. Boras knows that. Soto knows that. The Dodgers know that. If the Dodgers are interested in bidding on Soto, they should just wait until that winter.
And if Soto does sign an extension with whatever team trades for him, the Dodgers will be just fine. They will still have Lux and the trio of promising prospects to build around, as well as the money to sign whatever other big-name superstar hits the market.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the mix for right-handed pitcher Luis Castillo when they really should be in the mix for these other positions.
Remember when Dodgers fans were all upset because the team missed out on guys like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado? They followed it up by bringing in the likes of Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. It’s okay if they miss out on Soto to avoid overpaying for someone who’s great … but is still only one player.