Cubs: A blockbuster trade for Juan Soto isn’t going to happen
There are only a handful of teams in the position to pull off a trade for Washington Nationals outfielder and former World Series champion Juan Soto – and the Chicago Cubs are one of them.
According to Ken Rosenthal, after Soto turned down a 15-year, $440 million recently, the Nationals will reportedly entertain trade offers for the 23-year-old generational talent. That’s a major about-face from the club’s previous stance on shopping Soto, and one that could have a far-reaching impact across the sport.
With a farm system that ranks near the bottom of the league and the worst record in baseball entering play Saturday, the outlook in D.C. isn’t exactly promising. Trading Soto would hurt, but might be one of the only ways for the organization to quickly replenish its farm system. When you think of potential trade partners who A) boast the prospect capital that would be needed in such a deal and B) the long-term financial flexibility (Soto is under team control through 2024), it’s not hard to see why the Cubs come to mind.
The major-market Cubs are well on their way to another top-10 pick in the MLB Draft next summer with a payroll that’s essentially league average. The offense lacks any sort of transformative presence – and Soto would immediately change that. But I have a lot of trouble believing Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins have spent the last 20 months stockpiling prospects with the goal of trading a great many of them for a player of Soto’s caliber.
Cubs should go all-in on Juan Soto in free agency instead of trading for him
Being realistic, the Cubs could be good next year. Good is probably too strong a term. The Cubs could be… relatively competitive, especially in the National League Central. It’ll take a good deal of spending, something we haven’t seen this team do in some time, but it’s certainly possible.
But if you look up and down organizational prospect rankings, a good many of the A-list names on it aren’t expected to be ready to make the jump to the big leagues until around 2024 – which is the final year of Soto’s rookie deal.
So while, yes, I’d love nothing more than to see the two-time batting champ patrolling the outfield at Wrigley this summer, I’d rather the Cubs go all-in on signing him in two-plus years’ time, which will likely mean making him baseball’s first half-billion dollar man. Pair him with the likes of Brennen Davis, Caleb Kilian, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Kevin Alcántara and Cristian Hernandez and let it ride.