In a recent article from ESPN’s Buster Olney about potential X factors in the MLB trade market, he brought up that some people around the league believe that Washington Nationals superstar right fielder, Juan Soto, could potentially be traded. He provides a few reasonable arguments for why this could be a possibility and finishes off by saying that the two main teams that people believe would be in on him are the San Diego Padres and the Toronto Blue Jays. This, unsurprisingly, sent Blue Jays Twitter into a frenzy, and I’ll admit that I also got caught up in it all for a bit. The prospect of the Jays getting a player who in my opinion is the number one most valuable player in MLB right now is insane, and a reaction is more than warranted. The reality of the situation is though, that the odds of the Blue Jays actually acquiring Juan Soto are very very low.
This isn’t the first time this has happened either. Back in March, in a since archived Instagram live, former Major Leaguer Carlos Baerga practically guaranteed that the Blue Jays would be acquiring superstar third baseman Jose Ramirez in a trade with the Cleveland Guardians. MLB insider Ken Rosenthal somewhat corroborated these claims, tweeting that the Blue Jays were indeed interested in Ramirez.
Similarly, Baerga also stated that he believed 2020 NL MVP, Freddie Freeman, would be signing with the Blue Jays around the same time. Of course, Freeman ended up signing a massive deal with the Dodgers while the Guardians inked a five-year extension with Ramirez. In both situations, I think Jays fans (myself included, I wanted JRam very badly) got a little bit too worked up about getting these players and what it might take to acquire them, which brings me to my next point.
While the idea of acquiring one of the game’s elite players is always exciting, Blue Jays fans (myself included) may need to consider how unlikely it is.
In a universe where Juan Soto gets traded, he is going to cost so much more than the mock trades that people have been putting out. I don’t want to call anyone out here, since it’s always a fun experiment to try and figure out what a guy like Soto would be worth, but some of these suggestions I’ve seen are flat-out ridiculous.
For example, I have seen multiple people claim that there are rumours that the return could consist of Gurriel, Pearson, Biggio, and Kirk and I shouldn’t have to explain why that’s completely unrealistic. Other suggestions I’ve seen involve some combination of a current starter and multiple top prospects, but considering the Nationals likely aren’t interested in the Blue Jays number one prospect, catcher Gabriel Moreno, considering they acquired Keibert Ruiz in a deal with the Dodgers last season, it would make it almost impossible for the Jays to match Soto’s value.
Let me put it this way. Juan Soto is in his fifth year in the majors despite only being 23 and has been arguably the best hitter in baseball over the past two seasons. He was runner up for the MVP Award in 2021 and has developed into a top-tier defender as well. No matter what you throw at the Nationals, it would be very tough to truly give them what he’s worth.
In the 2015 offseason, the Blue Jays somehow got Josh Donaldson, a proven star at the time having finished fourth and eighth in MVP voting the two seasons prior, from the A’s for what amounted to 0.8 total WAR for them.
I have no way of proving this, but I think this may have given the fanbase a bit of a skewed perception of acquiring star talent. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but the odds of trading for a top guy like Soto or Ramirez are very low, and even if it were possible, the price they would have to pay would be enormous.
It may be fun to speculate what could happen, but as a whole, I think we should all just remember how unlikely these moves are and temper our expectations when in these situations.