Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays should absolutely shoot their shot for Juan Soto

Jul 16, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto (22) jogs after hitting a fly ball out against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 16, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto (22) jogs after hitting a fly ball out against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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The chances of the Blue Jays landing superstar Juan Soto in a trade are probably slim, but it would be foolish to not at least make an offer if Washington is serious about trading one of the best young hitters ini baseball.

Soto is the kind of generational talent that will fetch a king’s ransom, and I’m sure that half the league will be calling the Nationals to gauge what kind of offer it might take to pry him away. A year ago it was borderline laughable to think that the Nationals would ever trade the 23 year old, but with their latest failed attempt to sign him an extension (which was a reported 15-year, 440 million dollar offer), Washington’s front office might be getting more serious about moving on.

According to spotrac.com, Soto has two more years of arbitration eligibility after the 2022 campaign, and he’s making 17.1 million this season. He’ll be due another massive raise for 2023, and the same the following year, but I’m sure any team acquiring him will be hoping to lock him up for the long-term. Worst case, three playoff runs with Soto on your roster is worth bidding on alone, whether there’s an extension in play or not.

Could the Blue Jays be serious contenders for a player of this calibre? Of course, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to meet what should be absolutely exorbitant asking price. In fact, with a player of this magnitude, it’s hard to even begin to figure out what the ask could be from Washington. The closest comp might be when Alex Rodriguez was traded from the Texas Rangers to the New York Yankees, but that happened 18 years ago.

In order to get even the faintest starting point, I turned to a website that can be a lot of fun in baseballtradevalues.com. Fair warning, this site isn’t perfect when it comes to player value, but it gives us something to work with.

BTV gives Soto a rating of 193.7, which is absolutely massive. To give you a comparison, Alek Manoah is the highest rated Blue Jay with a 112.1 value, and the right-hander is one of the top young pitchers in the game. Their formula accounts for future projections, age, salary, and more, and Soto is one of the most valuable in the sport.

If we were using this tool to put together a package to offer on Soto, I thought it would be useful to show you a visual. Again, this is an imperfect tool, but trying to figure out trade value for someone of Soto’s calibre is very difficult.

Blue Jays get: 

  • Juan Soto–  193.7

Nationals get: 

  • Gabriel Moreno–  69.9
  • Ricky Tiedeman–  22.9
  • Jordan Groshans– 11.2
  • Teoscar Hernandez–  10.1
  • Nate Pearson–  5.1

Total=  119.2

This five-player package includes the Blue Jays’ #1, 3, and 4 ranked players, as well as a former top 50 prospect in Nate Pearson, and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner in Hernandez. And according to their formula, the value isn’t really even that close to what Soto brings to the table.

As ridiculous as that seems, it might be accurate depending on how the market develops. If we look at what’s gone on in the NBA recently, teams are trading 4-6 first round picks along with quality talent in trades for superstars these days. I realize this isn’t the NBA, but the common theme is that it requires a boatload of assets to acquire stars.

Just for kicks, here’s an example of what the Blue Jays would have to do in order to make a trade with Washington for Soto (again, with the disclaimer that the valuation isn’t perfect):

Blue Jays get: 

  • Juan Soto–  193.7

Nationals get: 

  • Bo Bichette–  110.1
  • Alejandro Kirk–  71.4
  • Otto Lopez–  6.0
  • Nate Pearson–  5.1

Total=  192.6

There are other ways you could get to the range of Soto’s value according to this tool, but they include even less palatable choices like trading Alek Manoah or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. At worst, I don’t see how the Blue Jays can get around trading all of their top 3-4 prospects in Moreno, Orelvis Martinez, Tiedeman, and Groshans, and I’m still not really sure if that would be enough.

Now, I’m not going to advocate for the Blue Jays to trade Bo Bichette in order to acquire Soto. He’s a superstar in his own right, even if he’s had a down year so far, and I think the Blue Jays would need to add Soto to a core group rather than subtracting a piece. As for mortgaging the future with guys like Moreno, Martinez, Tiedeman, and more, Soto might be the extremely rare player that you’d do something like that for. You’d likely need reassurances that he’d stick around beyond his current contract, but there will be other teams willing to go this far, and further.

Should the Blue Jays be one of them? In my mind the least they should do is figure out what they’d be comfortable giving up, and making the offer. If it’s not even in the ballpark of what the winning bidder spends, so be it, but at least you’d shooting your shot.

Next. Three ideas to shake things up. dark

All that said, I’m not getting my hopes up that the Blue Jays will add Soto to what is already a talented young core. We’ve been talking about how they need to do something drastic for a while, and this would certainly qualify, but I’m not going to hold my breath. Even at that though, I hope Ross Atkins has at least picked up the phone and made a call.

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