Although Rizzo carefully avoided offering such a prediction, he did make it clear that the Nationals could try to use a Soto deal to load up on bigger contracts — one line of Soto trade speculation. The contract of pitcher Patrick CorbinNot part of the organization’s plans.
“We have never contacted a team and talked about Juan Soto, and never linked a contract with any player. Adding a bad contract isn’t going to reduce income for any player. We’re not in our system at this point,” Rizzo said. “We want to get the most for every trade we make. So we’re certainly not going to deal with anybody’s contract, including Juan Soto or Josh Bell or anybody’s contract.
If the Nationals keep that lineup, which means interested parties have to lure Soto away from Washington with several top prospects or big-league-ready youngsters, they can’t mitigate the prospect loss by simply handing over money. Very few teams, if any, have enough prospects and young big league players to make a deal like that. Those who do may not feel the need to do so at this time, if at all A new ownership group Soto is making it available again this winter.
“We’ve been having conversations with a lot of teams with Juan Soto, and I think there’s real interest in him,” said Rizzo, who dismissed odds of the Nationals trading the star outfielder.
“I will say this: We need to get the deal we want that gives him a chance to become a championship organization rather than not trading him,” Rizzo said. “That’s it in a nutshell.”
The fact that Soto gained attention at this year’s trade deadline was the result of a now-infamous leak: A week and a half ago, Ken Rosenthal of the Athletics reported that Soto had declined. In league history, that would have been $440 million in guaranteed money over 15 yearsAnd the Nationals should consider trading him.
Speculation flew about the source of the leak, as Soto was visibly upset after the information became public. Did the Nationals leak details indicating Soto’s availability?
“Leaks are very difficult. In this age of social media, who knows where certain things come from. What I can tell you is that it definitely didn’t come from me, 100 percent sure, or from our office. That’s all I know for sure,” Rizzo said. We had it weeks ago. We had enough time to leak it out if we wanted to leak it out. Leaks never help the situation. It was disappointing to me.
Rizzo, who in June The Nationals told Jungis they would not trade SotoWashington said the now-public information about the talks caused problems.
“It didn’t help us with anything we were trying to do. It didn’t help us have a good relationship with Juan, it didn’t help us with any kind of leverage at the trade deadline,” Rizzo said. “It really didn’t help us. We were hurt when the details came out.
The source is still unclear. The Post confirmed details of the discussions, and Soto said he was disappointed they came out, suggesting he would not have directed anyone in his camp to make them public. Ahead of the All-Star Game in Los Angeles, he responded Questions about his future With his agent, Scott Boras, his Home Run Derby title was overshadowed by the idea that the Nationals might be considering an unprecedented deal for him. He suggested that he didn’t know what to trust in the system because the situation had changed so dramatically.
“With his agent’s knowledge, we told him the deal was rejected and we had to explore all our options.’ That’s all we’ve said so far,” Rizzo said. “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t explore all the options that are presented to us right now. We have a good option: we’ve got the talented Juan Soto for two and a half more seasons. It’s option A, and that’s fine. But we also need to think about options B and C.
“My job is to make this company an absolute winner again, like we did from 2012 to 2019,” Rizzo added. “As the caretaker of this franchise I have to find ways to make us a championship organization for the long term.”