Juan Soto is up for grabs after the superstar outfielder turned down a 15-year, $440 million offer from the Washington Nationals — who realized that the lucrative offer was likely their best and last chance to keep the 23-year-old in the nation’s capital.
The NL East club is now listening to trade offers with the obvious understanding that their return for the generational talent would be maximized the sooner they’re able to pull it off. After all, Soto is under team control through the 2024 season before hitting free agency.
While there would likely be a bit of an extra tax for any inquiring divisional rivals, the Mets have become a logical team to watch as the drama unfolds.
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Such is life in the Steve Cohen era.
The Mets don’t have the deepest farm system in the majors, but they have one of the most top-heavy pipelines to help facilitate a deal with Washington.
Before we go any further, the answer is a resounding yes: Soto is the kind of talent you give up the farm for.
The two-time All-Star is having a down season that might consist of a .250 batting average, but he still has an OPS flirting with a .900 (.896) in a Nationals lineup that is one of the worst in baseball.
Already having played in 554 career games, he has an OPS of .968, an OPS+ of 160, and is posting 162-game averages of 34 home runs and 103 RBI.
Did we mention that he is just 23 years old?
For any team interested, no one should be deemed untouchable as the Nationals will look not only for high-end prospects (no one has a ceiling as high as Soto’s) in return but for some salary-cap relief, too.
The Mets have two of the top 20 prospects in Major League Baseball with catcher Francisco Alvarez (No. 2) and third baseman Brett Baty that can start the conversation — though it would likely take even more young talent to sway Washington.
They can also take on the big contract of starting pitcher Patrick Corbin, who has woefully underperformed for the majority of his six-year, $140 million contract. Over the last three seasons (Years 2-4 of the contract), the southpaw is 15-35 with a 5.61 ERA.
He’s owed $23 million in 2023 and $35 million in 2024, which are figures the Nationals would love to get off their books to accelerate a rebuild.
It would be a necessary expense for the Mets to take on if it meant they would have at least a couple of years of Soto. And we all know they have the funds to sign him to what will likely be the richest contract in MLB history when the time comes to secure him in Queens for the long haul.