Juan Soto Trade Rumors: Nationals Have Told Teams They Won't Deal All-Star OF

Adam WellsMay 31, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 29: Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) on second base during a MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the Colorado Rockies on May 29, 2022, at Nationals Park, in Washington, D.C.
(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Amid speculation that Juan Soto might be on the move before the Aug. 2 trade deadline, the Washington Nationals don't appear inclined to deal their 23-year-old superstar.

On the latest episode of The Show podcast on Tuesday (starts at 28:10 mark), Jon Heyman of the New York Post noted the Nationals are telling other teams that Soto won't be traded.

The Nationals are in the midst of their third consecutive losing season since winning the World Series. Their 18-32 record entering Tuesday's games is ahead of only the Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals (both 16-31) for the worst mark in Major League Baseball. 

ESPN's Buster Olney first raised the topic of Soto being traded in a May 18 story, noting rival executives felt the Nationals "might well be compelled—and motivated—to move Soto this summer."

In February ESPN's Enrique Rojas reported Soto turned down a 13-year, $350 million contract extension from Washington before the lockout began in December.

Speaking to Rojas about the offer, Soto said he turned the deal down on the advice of his agent.

"My agents and I think the best option is to go year after year and wait for free agency," Soto told Rojas. "My agent, Scott Boras, is in control of that situation."

Even though Boras apparently wants Soto to get to free agency, he is also operating as if Washington won't deal the All-Star outfielder this season.

"Forget Soto trade ... not happening," Boras told Heyman.

Soto, who has two more years of team control remaining after this season, could break arbitration records if he doesn't sign an extension. He is making $17.1 million in 2022, per Spotrac.

Mookie Betts currently holds the record for highest single-season salary under the arbitration umbrella. He agreed to a $27 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in January 2020. The Red Sox traded Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers one month later.

The Dodgers subsequently signed Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract extension. It's the second-largest contract in MLB history, trailing Mike Trout's 12-year pact with the Los Angeles worth $426.5 million signed in March 2019.

Soto could become a free agent after his age-25 season. He made his big league debut at 19 years old in May 2018 and helped the Nationals win a World Series during the 2019 season.

The Dominican star has been one of the best hitters in baseball since his arrival. He led the National League in all three slash categories during the 60-game 2020 season (.351/.490/.695 in 154 at-bats).

Soto has a .294/.427/.540 slash line with 107 homers and 328 RBI in 514 career games.