How motivated the Washington Nationals are to complete a Juan Soto trade before the 3 p.m. PT deadline on Aug. 2 remains somewhat unclear, but at minimum they are continuing to field interest and explore a potential deal.
The development comes just over one month since Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the team would not trade Soto. Their change in stance has stemmed from Soto reportedly rejecting a 15-year, $440 million contract extension.
He’s not due to become a free agent until after the 2024 season, and easily is the best player available at the trade deadline.
Several teams have been linked to Soto, but Ken Rosenthal said on Fox Sports that the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals are viewed as the leaders:
“I am not all knowing, so I don’t actually have an answer for you, but the perceived frontrunners are the Padres and the Cardinals. And the Padres are a team we’ve seen this before under general manager A.J. Preller, they are extremely aggressive, they have prospects. No doubt, Preller would love to get Soto to go with Tatis, Machado and that excellent rotation. And there are people in the industry who believe he will do anything to get him.
“Then the Cardinals, they’re a little bit different. They’re a lot different, actually, than the Padres. They are run completely differently. They try to always balance the present with the future, and have been reluctant in the past to give up big-time prospects in this kind of deal. It’s just not something they ordinarily do.”
The Padres have consistently been mentioned as a favorite for a Soto trade, which is a position they were in last season for Max Scherzer. The right-hander at one point appeared bound for the Padres but instead wound up being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Trea Turner.
The Dodgers have been involved in Soto trade rumors, and also are said to have contacted the Los Angeles Angels about Shohei Ohtani.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are believed to have several prospects who are on the doorstep of being Major League ready. The Nationals reportedly want a combination of five or six prospects or young players in order to part with their superstar outfielder.
Mariners likely out of Juan Soto sweepstakes
The Seattle Mariners were recently mentioned as a potential landing spot for Soto, but they likely have fallen out of the picture due to trading top prospects to the Cincinnati Reds in order to acquire Luis Castillo.
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