Thursday, August 18, 2022

Juan Soto trade rumors: Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says team won’t ‘dilute’ return by adding bad contract

With less than a week to go until Major League Baseball’s Aug. 2 trade deadline, all eyes remain on Washington Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto, who was made available recently after rejecting a 15-year, $440 million extension offer. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo offered insight and commentary on the Soto situation on Wednesday morning, as part of a radio appearance on D.C.’s 106 The Fan.

“We’re in conversations with several teams that have real interest in him,” Rizzo said, according to station host Grant Paulsen. “We’re going to have to get the deal that we want … that gets us an opportunity to become a championship organization faster than not trading him.”

Soto, 23 years old, has two additional years of team control remaining after this season. He’s emerged as one of the best hitters in baseball over the course of his career to date, accumulating a slash line of .291/.426/.539 (159 OPS+) with 118 home runs in 560 big-league games. His contributions have been worth an estimated 21 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball-Reference’s calculations.

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Rizzo also addressed the potential inclusion of left-hander Patrick Corbin, a possibility that other front offices have speculated on to CBS Sports.

“We’re not going to dilute a return for any player by adding a bad contract,” Rizzo said, again per Paulsen. “We want to get the most for every trade that we do.”

That statement runs contrary to Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat’s reporting earlier Wednesday morning that stated talks between the Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals had ratcheted up. Per Jones, both Corbin and Cardinals rookie infielder Nolan Gorman are possible components of a trade.

Of course, general managers are not obligated to tell the truth on the radio, and Rizzo could always claim at a later date that, in his estimation, the return was not “diluted” with Corbin’s inclusion. 

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