Washington Nationals: Juan Soto bombshell just changed the game

Jul 13, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto (22) watches his solo home run against the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 13, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto (22) watches his solo home run against the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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With the news that Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto turned down a massive contract extension, the game has changed for the Nationals and the rest of Major League Baseball as the trade deadline draws near.

By turning down a gigantic amount of money over the next 15 years, Juan Soto made it clear he is looking for another option than the Washington Nationals

As Ken Rosenthal reported on Saturday morning (subscription required), the 23-year-old Soto has turned down a 15-year, $440 million offer from the Washington Nationals. Rosenthal also reports that Washington is now open to trade proposals for the superstar outfielder.

In essence, with this news, Soto has said he isn’t interested in a future with the Nationals, and the Nationals have figured out that they aren’t going to be able to keep Soto on a long-term basis.

Soto is not due to be a free agent until the 2025 season, so the Nationals are under no timeline to trade him. That means that fans shouldn’t expect a Soto trade before the August 2 trade deadline. However, it’s much more likely (even if it’s a small percentage) than it was when Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said back in June, “We are not trading Juan Soto.”

While Rizzo may have said that then, times have changed. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is Soto’s desire to win. His agent, Scott Boras, made that clear when he reminded the Nationals and other teams in the offseason, “Juan Soto wants to win.”

Apparently, with this rejection (and reported others this offseason that have been rebuffed), the belief is that that winning will not happen enough in the nation’s capital.

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This makes for an awkward end to the first half of the season and adds some spice to the trade deadline rumors that will surely spring up about Soto and the Nationals between now and August 2. While those rumors may not amount to anything this season, it’s clear that the Juan Soto saga in Washington is just ramping up.