The Washington Nationals are never trading Juan Soto to the New York Mets—at least not anytime soon. He has several years of getting underpaid left unless there is some kind of magic change to his contract situation or MLB’s CBA. The Mets will have to wait until he gets closer to free agency, or more likely, when he actually gets there to make him a member of their roster.
Soto has become one of the league’s most-talked-about trade candidates now that we know he has already turned down the Nationals’ extension offer. This will remain the case until he does have a deal in place with them or someone else.
Curious about what a hypothetical-it’ll-never-happen trade for Soto might look like, I reached out to the team over at District On Deck, Fansided’s Nationals site, for some input to answer the question with no realistic answer.
What a hypothetical Mets trade for Juan Soto that will definitely never happen anyway might look like
Over at DoD, they explained it would take the “top 3-5 Mets prospects and a few MLB ready players.” This doesn’t give us too much to go on.
By MLB-ready players, I think this eliminates most players already in their arbitration years. Perhaps one would suffice. Trading for a whole package of middle-tier guys wouldn’t make sense for the Nationals.
Assuming Francisco Alvarez is untouchable, the Mets would have to pivot to one of the other top position player prospects. Brett Baty would probably be the most enticing to the Nationals. I think any trade for a star like Soto would have to include him or Alvarez. With the club already picking up Keibert Ruiz last year, they don’t have the need for a young catcher anyway. Third base or wherever it is Baty ends up playing would fit better in their plan.
The Nationals would also want some minor league pitchers. Matt Allan’s lingering injuries might actually hurt his value right now. If so, that means J.T. Ginn is moving to Washington.
Along with those two, the Nationals are going to want at least one other top prospect. I don’t feel like any of the other guys near MLB-ready (Khalil Lee or Carlos Cortes for instance) push the deal toward “done.” One of the three of Robert Dominguez, Dominic Hamel, and Calvin Ziegler could suffice instead. Maybe the combination of Lee and a lesser prospect gets us closer to completion.
Is Baty, Ginn, Lee, and a non-top prospect enough for the Nationals? The Mets don’t have very many near-MLB-ready prospects outside of their upper echelon. When you start trading those, you begin to risk losing the deal no matter what you’re getting back in return. We also have to factor in the National League East tax that Washington would put on this deal. They need to be sure the Mets are left hurting even just a little bit after the deal is done.
Fortunately, the pain won’t happen. Soto is a 23-year-old superstar already and the Nationals have no urgency to trade him. Typically, the prospects you receive in return for a player of his caliber don’t pan out at the same level. Why trade him now when you can gear up and win with him at least once over the next few seasons?
One final thought to consider: would you, as a Mets fan, trade Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio, and Matt Allan for Soto? The Mets would come away on top immediately with this trade and even if all four of those players they gave up to get him excel in the major leagues, it’s the number of championships that would ultimately determine if the trade was worth it or not.
I'm guessing the majority of fans can just wait until free agency. Start the countdown clock now.