On Tuesday, Juan Soto will probably be manning the Dodger Stadium outfield as a member of the Nationwide League All-Star crew.
The following time he takes that subject could be as a member of the house crew.
On Saturday morning, the 23-year-old famous person rejected a mammoth 15-year, $440 million contract extension to stick with the Washington Nationals for what would doubtless be the rest of his profession. The deal would have made him the highest-paid participant in baseball historical past. However Soto had different plans in thoughts. In contrast to famous person Mike Trout, who’s taking part in out his 12-year, $426.5 million take care of the Angels, Soto cares about profitable.
In 2019, the Nationals made a shock run to the World Collection in Soto’s second season. They beat the Brewers, Dodgers, Cardinals, and Astros in one of the stunning World Collection runs in MLB historical past. Soto hit 5 residence runs that postseason, together with three within the World Collection — two of these being go-ahead blasts.
In 2020, the crew upset. In 2021, possession lastly blew it up.
Everybody grew to become out there apart from their younger famous person.
One crew that took benefit of the Nationals’ storage sale was the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers, poised to go back-to-back whereas combating with the San Francisco Giants within the NL West (and within the pursuit of the Nationals’ ace), went all-in. They traded their high two prospects — catcher Keibert Ruiz and beginning pitcher Josiah Grey — together with two different prospects to the Nationals. In return, they not solely received the prize of the commerce deadline in Max Scherzer, however in addition they snagged All-Star shortstop Trea Turner.
The Dodgers (once more) confirmed no concern of buying and selling younger expertise from their loaded farm system and (once more) confirmed no concern of buying and selling for guys they’d want to tug out the checkbooks for within the upcoming offseasons — a yr earlier the Dodgers traded for Mookie Betts and inside a number of months signed him to a 12-year, $365 million extension. Scherzer ended up leaving the Dodgers for the Mets, however Turner nonetheless had one other yr on his deal and can now be up for an extension in a number of months.
This June, because the Nationals have been clearly within the early phases of a rebuild, rumors swirled a few potential deal involving Soto. He was set for 2 extra years of arbitration earlier than he would develop into a free agent within the 2024-25 offseason.
Nats GM Mike Rizzo, nevertheless, rapidly shot down these rumors when he stated, “We aren’t buying and selling Juan Soto.”
On Saturday, that narrative might have drastically shifted.
With the commerce deadline in just some weeks, the considerably shocking rejection from Soto despatched a transparent message to the opposite 29 normal managers and entrance workplaces round baseball.
Begin getting your packages (and your checkbooks) prepared, as a result of the Nationals are open for enterprise.
In Could, the LA Occasions reported that an e mail went out to MLB reporters with the topic line “Juan Soto Commerce Odds.” The Nationals have been the favorites on the listing to have Soto on their roster following the commerce deadline. The Dodgers have been second.
However would the Dodgers actually unload their farm for a man they’d should pay effectively over $400 million for once they have already got Betts and Freddie Freeman locked into contracts paying them every over $27 million a yr?
The brief reply is sure. The long-answer? Effectively, it’s additionally sure.
As I stated, the Dodgers aren’t any stranger to win-now, all-in commerce deadline offers for superstars. They’re additionally no strangers to offers with the Nationals, and with Soto’s agent, Scott Boras. Not solely are present Dodgers Julio Urias and Cody Bellinger shoppers of Boras, however so is the man they received from the Nationals a yr in the past in Scherzer.
The Dodgers even have greater than sufficient expertise to make a deal occur, which can be one of many best returns in MLB historical past. Guys within the Majors like Gavin Lux or Dustin Could might headline the bundle, whereas high prospects Bobby Miller, Diego Cartaya, or Miguel Vargas might assist spherical it out. The Nationals would like to get any mixture of these gamers to jumpstart their rebuild, whereas the Dodgers could be locking in a giant three of Soto, Betts, and Freeman by means of a minimum of 2027.
And for just a little background on Soto: He’s already a two-time All-Star, a two-time member of the All-MLB First-Crew, the 2020 NL batting champion, and the 2021 NL MVP runner-up. He additionally has the second-best on-base share by means of age 23 within the Fashionable Period (since 1900) at .427, solely trailing Ted Williams’ .481.
At first of this season, Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts assured a World Collection victory. As of Saturday, the Dodgers sit with the perfect report within the NL and second-best in all of baseball at 59-30. They’ve gained 14 of their previous 16 video games, and have opened up a 9.5-game lead within the NL West. They appear like the clear favourite to come back out of the NL, even with their loaded injured listing and the first-half struggles of men like Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner (though he’s heating up as of late).
The Dodgers don’t essentially want to make a farm-clearing transfer for a man like Soto. But when that they had the chance, why wouldn’t they?
The Dodgers have confirmed time and time once more that in the event that they really feel like they’ll drastically enhance their roster, and set themselves as much as win a World Collection within the rapid and sooner or later, they gained’t hesitate. So why ought to this time be any completely different?
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