Juan Soto trade rumors: Nationals reportedly whittle down suitors to three as deadline looms

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The sweepstakes for Washington Nationals star Juan Soto is reportedly down to three teams.

Soto and the Nationals repeatedly failed to come to an agreement on a long-term contract extension that would have paid the outfielder handsomely and kept him in D.C. for more than a decade. Since then, Washington has seemingly been shopping the outfielder around.

Jim Bowden, a former MLB general manager who is now an MLB insider for The Athletic and MLB Network, tweeted that the running is coming down to three teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

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Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto, left, gestures beside St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt after he singled during the fifth inning, July 30, 2022, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Soto rejected a 15-year, $440 million offer that didn’t include any deferred money, The Athletic reported last week. The report noted that Soto is on track to become a free agent just ahead of his age-26 season and could command as much as $500 million on the open market.

Washington has reportedly been looking to trade him ever since.

Ken Rosenthal, an MLB on FOX field reporter and senior MLB writer at The Athletic, said on FS1 last week that the Nationals are essentially asking for everything and the kitchen sink when it comes to a trade for the young outfielder.

Washington Nationals' Juan Soto stands in the dugout during the seventh inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, July 29, 2022, in Washington.

Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto stands in the dugout during the seventh inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, July 29, 2022, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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“My understanding right now, from multiple clubs, is that the Nationals are asking for four to five top young players — a combination of prospects and major leaguers with low service time,” Rosenthal said.

“Now, that’s a monstrous ask, but that’s Juan Soto. He’s 23 years old, you’re getting him for three pennant races. Teams are not offended by what the Nationals want, but they’re worried that they can’t meet that price. At this point, from what I’m being told, it’s not really a negotiation. The Nationals are saying, ‘Either you express a willingness to meet our price or we just go to the next club.'”

Washington Nationals' Juan Soto gestures to the visiting dugout as he gets ready for his at-bat during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, July 29, 2022, in Washington.

Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto gestures to the visiting dugout as he gets ready for his at-bat during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, July 29, 2022, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Through 99 games this season, Soto hit 20 home runs and was batting .246 with a .883 OPS.

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He was an All-Star for the second time in 2022.

The trade deadline is Aug. 2.

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