Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo made the most difficult trade of his long MLB career on Tuesday, moving off 23-year-old outfield prodigy Juan Soto in a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Padres.
Washington’s decision to trade Soto so early in his career came after the star turned down a 15-year, $440 million extension offer from the organization.
This entire process proved to be difficult for both the Nationals’ organization and their now-former face of the franchise.
Just as the trade was made official, Rizzo took to the podium for a Q&A with the media. He had a lot to say about the process that sent Soto to San Diego.
“Props to the San Diego Padres. They’re not afraid. (General manager) A.J. Preller is not afraid,” a clearly emotional Rizzo said, via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
Rizzo was also asked why he wore his World Series championship ring, the front office head said “we’re in a bumpy road right now and we believe coming out of it will be a beautiful place.” He also indicated that it’s “a difficult day” while noting that “there was no edict to tade him (Soto) or not to trade him.”
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Washington Nationals make Juan Soto trade official
As we reported earlier on Tuesday, Washington sent Soto and star first baseman Josh Bell to the San Diego Padres for a package of high-end young players and prospects.
Washington netted former top prospects in that of pitcher MacKenzie Gore and shortstop C.J. Abrams. It also picked up San Diego’s top prospect in outfielder Robert Hassell III, its No. 3 prospect (outfielder James Wood) and young pitcher Jarlin Susana. Veteran slugger Luke Voit heads to Washington to complete the deal, per the team’s official website.
To say that this is a difficult day for the Washington Nationals and their fans would be an understatement. In reality, it all came down to the finances and the organization’s questionable ownership situation moving forward.
Mere years removed from bringing the first World Series title to the nation’s capital, Washington finds itself with the worst record in baseball. In making this move, Rizzo builds for the futue. That’s the one silver lining.