Washington, DC

Scott Boras Realizes Washington’s Kid Slugger Is Mr. Juan-derful


Washington slugger Juan Soto is up for trade after refusing an enormous offer to stay put.All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

By Dan Schlossberg

How much is too much?

Juan Soto, arguably the best hitter in baseball at age 23, allegedly turned down a 15-year, $455 million offer from the Washington Nationals.

His objections were two-fold: he wants to play for a team with a chance to win every year and he wants to highest annual average salary in the game.

Only a precious few teams can provide both.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, seemingly made out of money, are one such haven. So are the two New York teams, the Yankees and especially the Steve Cohen Mets.

But which of those teams can muster the package of players the Nats demand?

Washington wants four top prospects and/or several young, controllable players off the big-league rosters. The last-place team has to rebuild a hurry or risk becoming as irrelevent as the old Washington Senators once were.

It’s even possible the Atlanta Braves will jump onto the Soto bandwagon, since Liberty Media is one of the richest owners not named Steve Cohen.

What an outfield they’d have with Ronald Acuna, Jr., Michael Harris II, and Soto! All three are probable 2023 All-Stars and potential MVP candidates.

The big question is Soto’s ability to stay healthy. Even at his tender age, he’s had his share of aches and pains — though he’s no younger version of Luke Appling.

What would Soto bring in trade? Washington needs help at every position, especially with Josh Bell likely to leave via trade or after-the-season free agency.

Stephen Strasburg remains a giant question-mark despite his long-term contract so pitching is a priority. But the Nats need hitting, defense, and speed too. They’re virtually certain to spend on free agents and could even bring back Trea Turner, the National League’s starting shortstop in the All-Star Game.

Washington could keep Soto too — he’s controllable for 2023 and 2024 — but they’ll get more if they deal him now, when his value is highest.

Winning the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game only increased it.

Scott Boras gets a commission of 5 per cent on whatever deal Soto signs. But 5 per cent of $500 million is a pretty hefty price-tag for the burly player rep.

It’s going to be a hectic two weeks between now and the Aug. 2 trade deadline.

Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ is weekend editor of Here’s The Pitch, columnist for Sports Collectors Digest, contributor to USA TODAY Sports Weekly, and national baseball writer for forbes.com. He just covered the All-Star Game and is now in Cooperstown for Induction Weekend, where he will sign his books Saturday from 11-1 in front of Willis Monie Books, 139 Main St. E.mail him at ballauthor@gmail.com.

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