Buckle up, because the MLB trading deadline just got a lot more interesting. Washington Nationals All-Star outfielder Juan Soto is now available for a trade after recently turning down a 15-year, $440 million offer, according to sources.
The 23-year-old superstar could command a major haul for the Nationals, who would’ve become the highest paid player in baseball history with the offer he declined. It was the team’s third offer in recent months, and it didn’t include any deferred money, a departure from the team’s usual practice. Soto would’ve received an average salary of $29.33 million, the 20th-highest in baseball history.
He’s on track to become a free agent entering his age-26 season, and he could seek a deal of more than $500 million. At this point, it appears Soto not only wants the money, but also to be out of the nation’s capital. The Nationals are one of the league’s worst teams this season, and have been trending downward ever since winning the World Series in 2019.
Soto has gotten hot in July, but he’s still been a disappointment overall with a .247 average, 19 home runs and an .895 OPS. Most of that can probably be explained by a weak lineup, allowing opposing teams to pitch around Soto more than they would be able to on a better team. At the very least, Washington would be able to replenish their farm system, continuing with an eye toward the future if they decide to move Soto now.