The trade deadline got a little more suspensive last weekend when the Athletic reported that the Washington outfielder Juan Soto rejected $440 million15-year contract offer to stay with the Nationals.
Suddenly, social media was abuzz with rumors about Soto possibly being traded and what kind of incredible offer it would take to acquire him.
A deal involving the 23-year-old superstar would be seismic given his talent, his youth and the fact that he won’t be a free agent until after the 2024 season. Any team considering acquiring Soto would have to weigh the likelihood that stay there, but even two and a half years of it could be worth quite a bit.
Online trading simulators are meant for times like these, and baseballtradevalues.com he was probably getting a lot of hits on Saturday. That site attempts to put a figure on the value of a player, while accounting for the status of his contract. For example, Soto’s trade value (his projected value on the field minus his salary) is listed on the site as $193.7 million, trailing only Wander Franco ($286 million), Ronald Acuña Jr. ($221.2 million) and José Ramírez ($209 million) in all of baseball.
So using the site’s trade simulator, the goal is to line up a deal where the Nationals get about $193.7 million in value in exchange for Soto. Let’s have a little fun with this.
For the purposes of this exercise, we will assume that all non-trade clauses will be waived as necessary. All prospect ratings are from MLB Pipeline, and trade value figures in parentheses are in millions:
Deal No. 1: Soto ($193.7) to the Red Sox for SS Marcelo Mayer ($55.4), 1B Trison Casas ($39.7), RHP Brayan Bello ($28.8), RHP Tanner Houck ($27.1), 2B Nick Yorke ($25.2) and SS Xander Bogaerts ($22)
If a player like Soto becomes available, you immediately start thinking about rich teams that are already in contention: the franchises that can immediately benefit from adding him and have the means to keep him long-term. The Dodgers and Yankees fit that description, but they only have one top-25 prospect each.
In this deal, Boston would give up prospects No. 10, 14, 44 and 64, and Bogaerts, a four-time All-Star who can become a free agent after this season. If Washington feels it can extend it, would a trade like this make sense?
Deal No. 2: Soto ($193.7) to the Cardinals for OF Dylan Carlson ($72.8), 3B Jordan Walker ($61.6), 2B Nolan Gorman ($32.4) and OF Tyler O’Neill ($28.3)
Walker is the game’s ninth-ranked prospect, and Carlson and Gorman are top picks in the draft who have made it to the big leagues but haven’t turned 24 yet. O’Neill hit 34 home runs last year.
Deal No. 3: Soto ($193.7) to the Tigers for OF Riley Greene ($72), 1B Spencer Torkelson ($64.1) and LHP Tarik Skubal ($55)
Washington would get baseball’s No. 1 prospect (Greene), the first pick in the 2020 draft (Torkelson) and a 25-year-old (Skubal) who has shown promise in the majors. Detroit made a deal like this when they acquired Miguel Cabrera, but that only worked because the Tigers were able to keep him for the long haul. There’s little point in them bringing Soto in unless they’re prepared to spend whatever it takes to keep him.
Deal No. 4: Soto ($193.7) to the Giants for RHP Logan Webb ($79), SS Marco Luciano ($54.3), LHP Kyle Harrison ($39.2) and OF Luis Matos ($19.3)
San Francisco has come back down to earth after its 107-win campaign a year ago, so perhaps the Giants want to restart with Soto. In this deal, they would have to trade two top-25 prospects and an impressive young pitcher in Webb, but if they could keep Soto, they would have a long window to build a good roster around him.
Deal No. 5: Soto ($193.7) to the Padres for 2B Jake Cronenworth ($54.5), SS CJ Abrams ($52.1), LHP MacKenzie Gore ($42.4) and OF Robert Hassell III ($38.7)
Even if San Diego only had Soto for a couple of years, pairing him with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado is a tempting idea. And the Padres can afford to move Abrams thanks to the presence of Tatis. Whether this package is enough to move the needle in Washington is another question.
Deal No. 6: Soto ($193.7) to the Marlins for RHP Eury Pérez ($68.8), LHP Trevor Rogers ($61.6), OF Jesús Sánchez ($31.5) and RHP Max Meyer ($29)
This seems far-fetched, in part because Miami is in the Washington split, but if the Marlins want to shed their reputation as a franchise that lets superstars go, there’s no better time than the present. The value numbers line up for this trade, and Miami could pull it off while still having a core of Sandy Alcantara, Jazz Chisholm and Pablo Lopez waiting to play Soto. The Nationals get two top-25 prospects in Perez and Meyer, plus two major league 24-year-olds in Rogers and Sanchez.
Deal No. 7: Soto ($193.7) to the Angels for OF Mike Trout ($115.7), OF Taylor Ward ($59.3) and LHP Reid Detmers ($21)
We are now in fantasy land, aren’t we? Having largely squandered a decade of Trout’s greatness, would the Angels hit the reset button by trading him for another star outfielder seven years younger? Trout has a big contract of his own, but if the Nationals were prepared to give Soto one, they might be willing to pay Trout and hope he can keep playing at the MVP level well into his 30s.
And last but not least, an additional offer for those who like to watch the world burn:
Soto ($193.7) to the Phillies for OF Bryce Harper ($70), RHP Mick Abel ($28.2), SS Bryson Stott ($26.7), RHP Andrew Painter ($25.8), 3B Alec Bohm ($23.1) and LHP Ranger Suarez ($20.4).