Early word is the Nationals may be willing to accept a prospect-heavy package, especially if an acquiring team is willing to take on a “bad” contract, for 23-year-old wunderkind Juan Soto. The seeming interest in prospects over current pennant-race contributors is leading folks to believe Soto has a decent chance to be dealt now.
That might mean a package ask from the Yankees starting with Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza and Jasson Dominguez. And from the Mets a package beginning with Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio.
There’s no confirmation on any exact request yet. But as to whether the Mets or Yankees would surrender their three top prospects plus more, the answer from folks on both teams was the same: No.
It’s no surprise the Nats may prefer to dump a bloated contract, possibly Patrick Corbin — who has two years left on his $140 million, six-year deal. The interest in prospects would open the field to include more contending teams, while the preference to include an overpriced veteran could eliminate some smaller-market teams — a team taking Soto plus Corbin would be adding $40M.
Since the Nats said six weeks ago that Soto isn’t going anywhere, and since history tells us no 23-year-old star of this stature is ever dealt (Maybe Miguel Cabrera? Or perhaps Babe Ruth came closest, he was sold at one month shy of 25; they reportedly regret this in Boston), skepticism reigned regarding Soto’s availability. However, execs who’ve spoken to the Nats do believe Washington is genuine in Soto trade talks.
Though it’s a major risk to deal a player, 23, on track to become an all-time great, the Nats look like they have a couple years of rebuilding ahead, and at least the existing ownership — the team is for sale, too — must be convinced there’s no way they can lock him up. The record $440M, 15-year offer was said by agent Scott Boras to be “not even in the realm of consideration,” on The Post podcast “The Show,” due to the average annual value being $29.3M, which ranks well below Max Scherzer’s $43.3M and others.
Still, a few prime reasons remain to think it’ll be difficult to deal Soto, and one is that the Nats’ current owners are said to have heard from some prospective owners that they’d prefer to buy the team with Soto — the team’s greatest asset—still on it. One unknown hopeful owner said exactly that, that he wants to try to keep Soto, and barring that, at least trade him for what he wants.
The Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Padres and Rangers are among other teams that are logical — if indeed he is dealt.
Here’s a few thoughts on possible landing spots:
1. Padres: They’ve turned themselves into a bigger market and are drawing great crowds, though their payroll is already up there. They do have prospects. Robert Hassell III looks like a star.
2. Dodgers: Dealt well with the Nats at last year’s deadline, and have more prospects left.
3. Cardinals: They do extremely well financially. Matthew Liberatore, Nolan Gorman, Jordan Walker and others would interest the Nats.
4. Rangers: A big-time player now.
5. Mariners: Have prospects and like to deal.
6. Astros: Though they haven’t gone for the big monster deal, they could afford it.
7. Yankees: They have the money, obviously, but it would be an interesting dynamic since they already have one superstar right fielder (two if you include Giancarlo Stanton).
8. Mets: As divisional rival, probably a long shot. The Mets could just wait it out, and sign him in 2 ½ years