With just over 48 hours remaining until the MLB trade deadline on Aug. 2, most of the sport remains in a holding pattern as the Washington Nationals evaluate offers for Juan Soto.
He became available in the wake of reportedly declining a 15-year, $440 million contract offer from the Nationals. Although, with Soto remaining under team control through the 2024 season, there is hardly a guarantee he will be traded at the deadline this year.
Further complicating matters is the family of real estate magnate Ted Lerner exploring a sale of the Nationals franchise.
As a potential Soto trade hangs in the balance, the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals are believed to be the finalists, per Jim Bowden of The Athletic:
The #Nationals now have only 3 teams left in the bidding for a Juan Soto trade according to club sources. The teams are believed to be #Padres #Cardinals and #Dodgers with the #Cardinals offering the most talent off their major league club and the Padres the most talent from Farm
— Jim Bowden⚾️ (@JimBowdenGM) July 31, 2022
The Cardinals and Padres recently were identified as the leaders for Soto, though for different reasons. The Cardinals have a bevy of prospects who are close to being MLB ready, while Padres general manager A.J. Preller has a history of being aggressive and especially for star players.
Given that Soto is only 23 years old and under team control for multiple seasons, the Nationals are said to be seeking a historic haul for their two-time All-Star. A recent report indicated the Nationals are asking for trade package that includes four to five players.
The breakdown could be a combination of prospects or young players with low Major League service time.
Soto: trade rumors have ‘been crazy’
On top of dealing with trade rumors for the past couple weeks, Soto faced the challenge of playing against the Dodgers as speculation of their interest swirled.
“It’s been crazy,” Soto said of the trade rumors. “I mean, things that I never thought were going to happen to me. So first time going through it, it’s been pretty tough.
“Like I said, I never think about it because I’ve never seen myself in any of that. I’ve always been loyal to the Nationals, I’ve always been there for them. You see everywhere I’m going, they try to pull me out of my team.
“Just keep in touch with the National because that’s where I am right now and that’s where I’m going to be loyal until they don’t want me anymore.”
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