Last Saturday, MLB superstar Juan Soto turned down a $440 million offer from the Washington Nationals.
This mammoth piece of news leaves the Washington Nationals with a few options. They can do the unthinkable and seek a trade for Soto before the deadline. This will assuredly give the Nationals a large package of top prospects and a few MLB-ready players to fill the lineup right now. Any package for Soto that doesn't include a few top 60 MLB prospects and a player or two who is MLB active would be a mistake.
Their other option is to stop being stupid about these trade rumors, stop shopping Soto, and go back to the conference room or wherever and realize one important thing.
Juan Soto is worth a half a billion dollar contract offer.
Soto Is The Real Deal
For all the problems MLB is facing over retaining a younger audience, for all the problems MLB faces in 'fixing the game' it seems to think is broken, MLB has a few of the greatest players ever playing in the game right now. I think of Mookie Betts. I think of Mike Trout. I think of Shohei Ohtani. I think of Juan Soto.
You know what? Let's pretend there's a trade out there worth it. Most of the preposterous trade simulations I have seen for Soto include top prospects who are still somehow younger than Soto is. That's one of the points here that just tell us all the same thing: The Nationals have to retain Soto.
The point is that any team who wants to trade for Soto is going to have to seriously hinder their farm system and development to acquire him. Is he worth that? Absolutely, but only if you keep him long-term. This boils down to where Soto wants to play.
Which teams can afford him? The usual suspects. Imagine an outfield with both Mookie Betts and Juan Soto. Imagine an outfield with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Juan Soto. Soto is the best left-handed hitter since Ted Williams. Argue with a wall. Is Soto the best defender out there? Absolutely not. It does not matter.
Does Washington go after the biggest haul of prospects and young MLB-ready talent ever? Or do they go another route?
Soto has two years left on his contract. That is more than ample time for the Nationals to do two things:
Put a quality team back on the field. They are currently the worst team in MLB. They don't have a great farm system to develop in two years. They do have one thing. Cash, baby. They need to spend a little of that headroom they've got by letting their other prized players go and improve the team. What else would convince Soto to stay other than a better offer and a better team? It won't be easy, but the Nationals can either do this or do what is proper.
Give Juan Soto half a billion dollars. He's worth it.