The Tuesday Discussion: Getting Juan Soto
May 31, 2022
This week we asked our writers:
Assuming that Juan Soto is really on the trading block, what would you realistically trade for him?
Here are their replies:
James Vlietstra - Anyone who believes that acquiring Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals is easy ismarkedly mistaken.
First off, monetarily, he is going to be very pricy. In his first year of arbitration, he is earning $17.1M in 2022. Expect significant raises in each of his two remaining years of team control.
Well the Yankees aren’t going to give up what they are going to want without securing him to a very lucrative multi year contract. Is he going to be baseball’s first $500M man?
Ok, so what would the Nationals want in exchange for their 23- year old superstar? If I was their GM I would look to pillage the Yankees system. They currently have 5 top 100 players.
Start with Nestor Cortes and Michael King. Then piece together a package that includes 4-5 of the following: Clarke Schmidt, Jasson Dominguez, Anthony Volpe, Antonio Gomez, Ken Waldichuk, and Trey Sweeney.
You are talking about a franchise altering trade.
If I am the Yankees, I try to keep my Major League players, so it doesn’t hurt my chances in 2022. So instead I take on the Stephen Strasburg contract.
Let’s say Strasburg and Soto for Volpe, Austin Wells, Waldichuk, Miguel Andujar, Orlando Cabrera, Luis Medina.
It’d definitely hurt to give up all that talent, but it would be a significant upgrade and would help Cashman clear up some of the 40-Man logjam.
Cole and Stanton are already $300+M players and Judge is looking to join them and Strasburg isn’t that far away and Soto will surpass all of them. Is it practical to construct a team with so many players earning such high salaries?
Paul Semendinger - The cost for Soto would be tremendous. I would be careful because I would not want to upset the balance on the big league squad, so the current 2022 Yankees would be off-limits, except for the typical names like Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks, but of the prospects... to me, none are untouchable. I'd begin by asking the Nationals, "Which five of our top prospects do you want?"
Some readers might balk at that. "You'd give your top five prospects for Juan Soto?!" Yes, I would. In a heartbeat.
Here are the Top 10 Yankees Prospects from 2018. If the Yankees traded them all for a player of Juan Soto's abilities and age at the time, there would have been outrage, "THE YANKEES ARE GIVING UP TOO MUCH!!!" But, if all ten these ten players were offered today, it's the Nationals that wouldn't accept the trade.
My point is that prospects are prospects. The hope would be that one guy becomes a Juan Soto. The odds are against it. With that being the case, I'm happy to give up five players with hope to get the one sure thing.
I'd also be willing to reduce the amount of prospects I'd give and pick up Stephen Strasburg's or Patrick Corbin's salary to make the deal an easier sell for the Nationals.
Ethan Semendinger -
I answered this question the other day in this article:
Addressing The Needs: Juan Soto
Cary Greene -
I see it’s already started. The pinstriped buzzards are circling over all the dying teams. We’re not even experiencing June and July heat yet, but the reality is, many ball clubs have stopped trudging along, unable to bear the pace. They’ve fallen back and they can no longer see the leaders, who have broken away from the back. In short - a number of teams stink…and the stench can be smelled only by the shrewdest of fan bases. Yankee fans, you had better believe, are fitted with a sense of smell akin to an African Elephant (which can smell a water source up to 12 miles away, by the way), they are capable of immediately spreading their vulture like wings and circling on the thermals, high above the baseball fields, hidden in and out of the clouds they circling, speculating, waiting…wishing…I suppose it is almost that time of year - and so it has begun. TRADE SPECULATION TIME!! Ding-ding-ding!!
On the hypothetical block today is none other than 23 year-old Nationals phenom, the left-handed slugger, Juan Soto. This year’s slash line .232/.376/.427 with an .803 OPS and a .360 wOBA. He’s a decent defensive right-fielder who has pounded right-handed pitching to the tune of a .303 average thus far in his young career, though he’s only hitting .267 against righties so far this season. His xwOBA is .427 so it’s a very good bet that he’ll start crushing it like usual, very soon. He doesn’t strike out much at all 13.8% and he walks like nobody’s business - 18.3% which is top 1% in baseball. Suffice it to say that opposing pitchers are very careful with Mr. Soto.
Soto’s BsR is 1.3 (significantly better than he has been in prior seasons, so this stat may regress) so far. He’s top 8% in the league in Exit-Velocity - 113.2% and he hits to all fields equally well, which makes him NOT an ideal lefty for Yankee Stadium. His median trade value per baseballtradevalues.com is also a whopping 206.7 million. That should be enough to ground just about every buzzard in NY City, no?
Let’s frame the conversation by recognizing that Aaron Judge, with only one-year of team control remaining, has a median trade value of 38.9 million. Soto, already in his second season of arbitration eligibility, is only getting more expensive by the minute. He’s kind of like a barrel of crude oil right now and the Lord only knows how much that will be selling for next week. Presently, Soto makes $17.1 million and he comes with two additional years of team control.
The Yankees DO NOT have the means to trade for Juan Soto. The asking price is pretty much impossible for the Yankees to pull off. Here’s what a deal might look like though, just for yuk-yuks:
Yankees Get: RF Juan Soto $206.7m
Nationals Get: RF Aaron Judge $38.9m, RF Giancarlo Stanton -111.1m (His entire contract paid by NY), Anthony Volpe $55.4m and one of Stephen Ridings or Estevan Florial.
Tim Kabel - I think Washington would want young players. I saw a blog in which the host suggested the Yankees trade a package built around Aaron Hicks, Joey Gallo, and Wandy Peralta. The Nationals would not want that package. No one would want that package. I
Shortstop is a position of strength for the Yankees. Although Oswald Peraza is struggling in the minor leagues, he is showing some signs of coming around. Anthony Volpe is in a similar situation. I would not certainly give up on either one of them. However Trey Sweeney, who is doing well, is the furthest from the majors. I know the Yankees don’t want to give up any of their shortstops but, they would have to.
I would offer the nationals a package made up of Trey Sweeney, Hayden Wesneski, Ron Marinaccio and Elijah Dunham. Marinaccio is already in the major leagues. Wesneski is at Triple A and Dunham is at Double A. This package might need to be tweaked a bit but, I think it’s a good offer. You could throw in Hicks just for chuckles.
Mike Whiteman - This would be a terribly unpopular trade in Washington. Any deal has to help the Nats be better now, and in the future. Here's my package:
Gleyber Torres, Jordan Montgomery, One SS prospect (Volpe or Peraza), Austin Wells, Clark Schmidt or Mike King, and Ken Waldichuk.
Seems like a lot? Heck, I'm not sure my deal is enough! Here's the top five comparables to Soto on Baseball-Reference.com:
Soto is generational talent. If the opportunity comes up to deal for him, you do it.