Give it up for the Dodger fans, they know the deal.
Last night the Dodger faithful cheered for Washington Nationals slugger Juan Soto, chanting “Future Dodger” while he was in the outfield.
Soto then went on to slug two triples in the Nats’ 4-1 win over the Dodgers Monday night. Lost in all the Soto chatter is the fact that it was the first loss of the season for Dodgers ace Tony Gonsolin.
But who cares about 11-0 when it’s Juan Soto!
Since rejecting a monster extension (14 years for $440) from the Nationals, the 23-year-old Soto has been the subject of endless trade chatter. Who gives up a 23-year-old superstar at this stage of his career?
Apparently, the Nationals do. The Nats are 33-65 and have been playing out the string since May. The Dodgers are 64-31 and locked in on winning the World Series.
Who can give Soto an environment where he can flourish, grow and expand his brand?
That would be the Dodgers.
But do the Dodgers have the resources and the will to take on Soto?
How Can the Dodgers Get Soto?
If you feel like this is déjà vu, it’s because it is. Last July, the Dodgers made a big trade with the Nationals for pitcher Max Scherzer (now with the Mets). LA unloaded four prospects, including two current Nationals starters, pitcher Josiah Gray (seven wins) and catcher Keibert Ruiz (batting .249).
Safe to say, the Nationals know the Dodgers, and the Dodgers know the Nationals.
The Nationals can demand a high price for Soto. If it was four players for Scherzer, does that mean it’s five, or six for Soto, or 10?
No one knows exactly who the Dodgers might be willing to part with or who the Nats may have their eyes on, but keep in mind a few things.
Soto is an outfielder. The Nats, if they’re smart (that’s a big if), should want an outfielder in return. Would they want Cody Bellinger? It’s not every day you can get a former league MVP, and he may be on the block.
After that, then it comes down to prospects and haggling. The Nats have floated the idea of someone taking on the contract of pitcher Patrick Corbin. He’s uh, making a lot of coin ($23 million) for not a lot of production (four wins).
If the Dodgers accept Corbin in the deal, then actually what they’d have to give back to the Nats would be reduced.
Here are two Dodger prospects to keep an eye on, pitcher Bobby Miller who is 4-4 down in double-A Tulsa and Andy Pages, an outfielder also in Tulsa. The Dodgers can afford to part with both.
What is Soto Worth?
Soto was second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2018 when he was 19 years old.
He was second in the MVP voting last year after hitting 29 homers and .313 for a bad Nationals team.
This year, his projections are a little down, but the Nats line-up is so bad, that there’s no reason any MLB pitcher should ever give him anything to hit. He has a league-high 83 walks with 20 homers.
And Soto just won the Home Run Derby…in Los Angeles. While that only illustrates a certain skill set, it does show Soto can rise to the moment in pressure situations. We knew that already. In the 2019 World Series, at age 20, he belted three homers and batted .333.
Soto has been compared to Ted Williams in his career. In his first four-and-a-half years, he has 118 homers. After five years, ‘True Home Run King’ (not his actual title) Henry Aaron had 140 homers.
Hey, Aaron got traded too.
So in Soto, you’re looking at a player who plays every day, can rake to all fields, hit for power, rise to the moment and seems comfortable on a big stage.
So to Review: Do We have a Deal?
The trade deadline is 6 p.m. on August 2. It’s almost like the MLB schedule-makers knew something might happen because after playing in LA, Soto and the Nats return home for three games with the Cardinals and then three games with the Mets.
The Cardinals and Mets are also both prime Soto Suitors.
Only the Mets can probably outspend the Dodgers at this point, but their farm system may not be the same as what the Dodgers can deliver. The Cardinals could use the star power with Albert Pujols retiring and if there is one concern if I am a Dodger fan is that Soto may not want to play out on the West Coast so far from his native Dominican Republic.
Dodger fans chanted ‘Future Dodger’ Monday night, but for Juan Soto, his future is unclear.