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Washington Nationals general manager sheds light on potential Juan Soto trade cost

Matt Johnson

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo isn’t shy when it comes to discussing Juan Soto. After strongly denying MLB rumors early this season that the All-Star outfielder might be moved, the Nationals’ executive is willing to admit the team is open for business.

The decision to put Soto on the trade block came after he rejected their latest contract offer, one that would have made him one of the highest paid MLB players ever. Recognizing that Soto and agent Scott Boras intend for the MLB star to test free agency in 2025.

  • Juan Soto contract: $17.1 million salary (2022), arbitration-eligible through 2024

Washington doesn’t feel pressured to move Soto right now. He is under team control for an additional two years and a new ownership group might want to award him a $500 million contract. However, a trade could provide the Nationals with an opportunity to rebuild a farm system that needs work.

Related: Evaluating 4 Juan Soto trade packages for Washington Nationals

During an interview on 106.7 The Fan Junks Radio, Rizzo shed light on the front office’s demands for a return in any Soto deal.

“We’re in conversations with several teams that have real interest in him. We’re going to have to get the deal that we want.. that gets us an opportunity to become a championship organization faster than not trading him.”

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo on necessary return for Juan Soto

Rizzo’s stance is exactly why some in MLB believe a trade doesn’t happen by the Aug. 2 deadline. While both MLB postseason contenders and teams on the outside want Soto, there’s no incentive to rush a deal. There will be just as many teams interested on Dec. 2 as there would be on Aug. 2.

  • Juan Soto stats (2022): .245/.401/.485, 20 home runs, 45 RBI, 156 OPS+

What will a Juan Soto trade cost?

The Nationals’ price tag is staggering, reportedly far exceeding anything MLB teams have seen in recent years. If clubs hoped that absorbing Patrick Corbin’s contract – eating nearly $60 million over three years – would cushion the blow to a farm system, Rizzo made it clear that’s not the case.

“We’re not gonna dilute a return for any player by adding a bad contract.”

Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo on possibly attaching Patrick Corbin contract to Juan Soto trade

Realistically, any team acquiring Soto will need to trade a majority of its top-six prospects and farm systems with MLB-ready talent will have an advantage. It’s why the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals are viewed as the two favorites to land the slugger if he moves.

It still seems unlikely that a deal happens within the next few days. Rizzo isn’t going to approve a deal unless he is certain it checks off every box the team demands for a trade to go down. Otherwise, Soto will be the biggest player discussed at the Winter Meetings even at a time when the 2023 MLB free agent class is loaded with talent.