Report: Nats to entertain Juan Soto trade after he rejects $440M deal


Juan Soto could be on the move in the next couple of weeks.

The Washington Nationals will entertain offers for their superstar outfielder ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline after he turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract offer, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported on Saturday. 

The $440 million deal would have made Soto the highest-paid player in MLB history. In terms of average annual value, it would have ranked 20th all time at $29.33 million.

General manager Mike Rizzo said as recently as last month that Washington would not be trading Soto and had "every intention" of building the team around the two-time All-Star. But Soto rejecting the Nats' latest offer, which was the third one they've made in recent months and did not include any deferred money, has left club officials "believing that if they cannot sign him for that money, they never will," per Rosenthal.

The potential sale of the franchise by the Lerner family reportedly is also a factor in the situation.

"As the Lerners consider selling the team, they wanted to clarify their position with Soto for prospective buyers," Rosenthal writes. "Soto is an asset, but not if his contract is so big that it would make it difficult for the Nationals to build around him."

Soto, 23, is under club control for two more seasons beyond the current 2022 campaign. The two-time Silver Slugger award winner has rebounded from a slow start, by his standards, with a torrid July, where he is hitting .417/.596/.889 with five home runs and 10 RBIs in 13 games. For the season, which is his fifth in the bigs, Soto is hitting .247/.405/.490 with 19 home runs and 42 RBIs.

Just three seasons after winning the 2019 World Series, the Nationals find themselves with the worst record in baseball at 30-62. They missed out on each of the last two postseasons as well as they finished under .500.

In addition to a lack of on-field success at the major league level, Washington's farm system is also lacking. In a recent FanGraphs ranking, the Nats' prospect pool was slotted 23rd out of 30 teams. A Soto trade, however, would certainly have the ability to significantly boost Washington's talent pipeline.

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