Juan Soto has been open about his unhappiness at his contract talks with the Washington Nationals becoming public.
On Friday, the All-Star outfielder retweeted and deleted a Derek Jeter tweet about loyalty amid rumors he could be moved prior to the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
The Jeter quote was from Episode 2 of his ESPN documentary series The Captain.
Soto has become the primary focus of MLB leading up to the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported on July 16 that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo would listen to offers for the 23-year-old superstar after he rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract extension from the club.
After the negotiations were made public, Soto addressed the situation while speaking to reporters during All-Star festivities on Monday in Los Angeles.
"I try to keep my stuff private and not try to throw stuff out there," Soto said. "It feels really bad. But at the end of the day, we just have to keep playing. It doesn't matter what's happening. A couple weeks ago, they were saying they will never trade me. And now all these things come out. You don't know what to trust."
It could be argued that Washington would actually be better off by trading Soto right now. He's certainly on the short list of best players in Major League Baseball and, at 23 years old, should stay at an elite level for several more years.
Trading a player like Soto with 2.5 years of team control remaining before he can become a free agent after the 2024 season would be ridiculous in most cases.
But the Nationals roster has been in shambles since winning the 2019 World Series. Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon and Max Scherzer were either traded or left via free agency. Stephen Strasburg has only thrown 30.1 innings since the start of 2020. Patrick Corbin has a 5.61 ERA in 61 starts since 2020.
All of this has led to the Nationals' current situation where they have the worst record in MLB (31-63). MLB.com ranked the club's farm system No. 23 overall ahead of this season, with just two top-100 prospects.
Soto would presumably bring back at least three or four high-level prospects on the verge of reaching the big leagues.
It's not advisable to trade a player like Soto because the odds of anyone the Nationals get in a trade turning out to be as good or better than him are low. He has a .293/.427/.541 slash line with 118 homers in 555 games since making his MLB debut in 2018.