Wednesday, July 20, 2022

By trading Juan Soto, the Washington Nationals can nuke the current 2022 baseball universe - along with the Yankees

Imagine Thanos with the Infinity Stones, but instead of an interstellar mass-murderer, he's an MLB owner. Suddenly, his grubby hands hold not just the 2022 season, but the balance of power through the 2030 - the stars, the fates and the future of his tanking Washington Nats...

My head hurts. 

With 10 shopping days before Aug. 2, the MLB trade deadline, Washington holds the Cosmic Cube. And what the Nats do with Soto will transform reality, as we know it. 

As you surely have heard, the Nats last week vowed to trade Soto after he nixed a 15-year, $440 million deal, (that's $29.3 million per season.) He's 23 - younger than most prospects he'd bring - and a generational talent, a likely future Hall of Famer. Think Trout. Think Cabrera. Think Pujols. Wherever Soto goes, he will supercharge that team's chances to win in 2022.

The notion of the Yankees getting Soto boggles our minds. (As does the idea of Boston, Toronto, Houston or the Mets obtaining him.) It hurts, pondering the unponderable. So, stay with me...

1. As a LH bat, Soto would fit in luxuriously between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, a slot where Anthony Rizzo is enjoying his greatest season. This is the kind of deal that old Bowie Kuhn would nullify. Adding Soto would seem unfair - exponentially boosting our chances of a world championship, right?

2. But but BUT... October is a house of mirrors. In a five- or seven-game series, it's all pitching, pitching, pitching. And what if we don't have it? Remember "Murderers Row and then Cano?"

3. Would Hal Steinbrenner sign Soto long-term? Clearly, that's our hope. With a 13-game lead over Tampa (which won't sign him), we actually don't need him this year. We're almost guaranteed a postseason slot. But if Food Stamps shells out $500 million for a contract extension on Soto, would it mean Aaron Judge leaving? Remember: Soto is six years younger than Judge, far preferable in the long run. But how would Yankee fans react if Judge - gulp - moves across town? 

4. To get Soto, the Yankees would have to trade a pile of prospects including Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, Estevan Florial, Oswald Peraza and any secrets they're trying to stash away in the system. Some say we'd have to include an everyday player, such as Gleyber Torres. (I'd draw the line there.) In a true bidding war, who knows where the music stops? 

5. Can the Yankees simply ignore Soto going to an AL East rival or -again, gulp - the Mets? Whoever gets Soto vaults to the top of MLB 2022 power - a slot we have enjoyed for two months. Those recent losses to Houston chilled us, and if the Astros add Soto, dear God... would we look back on 2022 as the last great Yankee opportunity before the talent curve goes south? 

Look, fuck me. I dunno where this goes. But if the MLB chess board gets overturned, we lose - because, right now, the Yankees sit in the catbird seat. And I doubt Washington is just posturing. The Nats traded Bryce Harper and won a world series. They see Soto at peak trade value, they're going to do something, and they hold the Yankiverse in their hands. Get ready for the earth to move. 


JM said...

There is another Soto scenario, which is, the Nats keep him and work out a long-term deal after the season. That's my guess about what will actually happen. All this trade talk is just a little gamesmanship by the team's management.

But, as Fats Waller used to say, one never knows, do one?

Doug K. said...

They should get him.

He still has two more seasons plus this one under his current contract. That's three post seasons. They can deal with extending him after its up. Or, not extend him.

Bottom line: Three post seasons of peak Martian (who may never actually be peak Martian) so it's OK to trade Jasson and whomever else they need to. Especially on the non pitching side.

Celerino Sanchez said...

If all takes is the Martian and anyone not named Volpe, I'm in

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

According to's stats, Soto has been to the plate 2,386 times in his career.

452 walks.

That's an on-base percentage of .189 -- without making contact. Career OBP is .427.

Strikeouts? 406

Judge's career numbers -- 405 walks, 833 Ks. Career OBP is .383 (which isn't shabby!).

RBI -- Soto 355 (in 2386 PA)s -- Judge 436 (2811 PAs)

Judge is 30. Soto is 23. I'm not certain, but it looks as if Soto hasn't had much injury time. Judge has been down due to injuries, at least in the past.

Beyond the head-to-head comparisons -- and yes, I think Judge might be a much better outfielder -- there is the additional benefit of LEVERAGE. If you obtain Soto now, who comes with a contract that makes him NYYs "property" in 2023 and 2024 as does that change the team's negotiating position with Judge?

The question (for me) is: How do you NOT obtain Soto, right now?

Keep in mind that I am a Nationals fan (2nd to NYYs, of course). If the Nats can't keep him, I want the NYYs to get him.

And (other than pitching) I don't really care about the cost (in prospects).

ZacharyA said...

At age 19, Jasson Dominguez is hitting .266/.374/.440 with Single-A Tampa.

At age 19, Juan Soto was hitting .292/.406/.517 in the major leagues.

Just for some context on how quickly and easily Soto became great.

Soto has 20 HR this year and is on pace to finish the season with 35 HR. That would put him at 133 HR through his age-23 season. Here's a list of players ahead of him through that age:

Eddie Mathews, Mel Ott, A-Rod, Mike Trout

Soto has 79 walks this year and is on pace to finish the season with 138 walks. That would put him at 511 BB through his age-23 season. Here's a list of players ahead of him through that age:

No one. Ted Williams (495 BB) is the closest.

Who knows what the future brings but this guy looks like one of the greats to me. I'd give up any of our prospects to acquire and extend him. You could give him a 10+ year-deal and not even touch his 40s.

I'd hate to see Judge leave, but Soto has out-hit him slightly since his debut in 2018 (Soto 160 OPS+, Judge 153 OPS+) and is seven years younger. If you can move from Judge to Soto, you need to from a cold, practical standpoint.

One last thing.

Juan Soto in the 2019 World Series vs. the Astros:
.333/.438/.741 (1.178 OPS)

If you want a player that rises up in a big moment and that can stand up to Houston pitching, it might be this guy.

BTR999 said...

I must echo JM, I don’t believe any deal is forthcoming, especially with the Yanks. It is indeed gamesmanship, and both the team and player know they are going to get paid anyway. The Nats will continue to make money and see the value of their team appreciate, even in last place, while Soto can be secure in the fact that at the minimum, he will sign the richest contract in MLB history.

AboveAverage said...

The drama continues . . . .

How interesting the next couple weeks will be.

DickAllen said...

Han Soto is currently making 17MM - by shedding Gallo and dumping Hicks, fitting his salary shouldn't present any problems - the Yankees essentially did the same money wash with Stanton.

He's a 40/100 and you could even use him as a leadoff hitter with that kind of OBP.


Publius said...

Shedding Gallo and dumping Hicks. Easier said than done, I fear. Who'd take their salaries. Sure, some team might take themfrom the Yanks, but would that team pay them their salaries? In full? Tough to see it. So Hal will continue to pay, which means, essentially, the Yanks are stuck with them and the roster/payroll inflexibility they bring.

On another note, Nestor to Trevino in the ASG was a charming glimpse into baseball's past. They're each among the last of a dying breed. Crafty soft tossing pitchers are doomed by developmental emphasis on velocity and spin rate, and master pitch framing catchers will expire with the robo ump. Fun while they lasted.

The Hammer of God said...

Absolutely they should trade anyone and anybody to get him! We all know Cashman & Co. doesn't like to develop young players. That means that the Martian and Volpe and everyone else down in the minors won't come up until they're 28 or 29 years old and totally washed up. Soto is younger than any prospect that Cashman & Co. would ever bring up. Go for it!

BTW I remember reading something, a long while back, about Volpe having to strengthen his throwing arm. Not something you want to hear about a SS prospect. The prerequisite for a SS is a great, great throwing arm.

And if we have to throw in Torres to make the deal happen, why the hell not. Torres has pretty much been a "meh" player. He's had some good moments, but Jose Trevino has had just as many in half a season. Torres, another SS prospect without a great arm, now a failed SS prospect. We can certainly afford to trade away a righty bat. We need to keep turning this lineup lefthanded.

We'll figure out what to do with Judge's contract when the time comes.

But my guess is that all this is just a lot of talk. Chances are that Soto won't be traded. And if he is traded, somebody smarter than Cashman will land him.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Great states, Joe FOB and Zach.

And yes, this is (almost) as if the Yankees had had a chance to pick up Willie Mays to go with The Mick, c. 1955. And they just drafted a Judge-sized lefty some people say is the best hitter in the SEC. Add Henry Aaron, too?...

HoraceClarke66 said...

YES, they should do this, absolutely! You pick up a generational talent, don't worry about the cost. A bunch of prospects who the Yankees, with their amazing system, will probably ruin anyway, well before they get to the show?

Yes, you do that.

Buuuut...of course, they won't. We'll be lucky if HAL decides to re-sign Judge. Trying to create something not his brief. At least not when it comes to baseball.

HAL feels he has created the sweet spot for the Yankees to be guaranteed a great, yearly return...and he would be fine with generations of Steinbrenners continuing that to the End of Days (which should be shortly. But still!).

DickAllen said...

And if Judge decides to walk across to Flushing, so be it.

Chapman coming off the books = 16MM
Judge coming off the books = 19MM
Severino coming off the books = 11MM

We can afford this guy and at his age...

Empty the farm.

Carl J. Weitz said...

If the Yankees win the World Series, Hal will consider his load shot and spend no more money. That means bye-bye Judge. In his mind, winning the WS is like getting under the luxury tax threshold. It re-sets the number of years the organization can be frugal and the acceptable number of years between championships.