Juan Soto should recover “the biggest commercial package of all time”

If the Washington Nationals end up trading Juan Soto, they probably won’t want to be the Florida Marlins.

In 2007, the Marlins – before becoming the Miami Marlins – faced a similar crossroads with young talent. Unable to finalize a long-term extension with blossoming star Miguel Cabrera, the Marlins traded the then 24-year-old to the Detroit Tigers for six prospects – two of whom were then considered the sport’s top prospects in pitcher Andrew Miller and outfielder Cameron Maybin. .

The deal, in retrospect, was a complete theft. For the Tigers.

The Cabrera trade is perhaps the best parallel – and a cautionary tale – for the Nationals as they are now making Soto available in trades after the 23-year-old turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract offer. .

But as the Nationals study the trading partner landscape, it’s expected that Washington could bring in more for Soto than the Marlins did for Cabrera — and not just because the Florida club made a mistake.

After news broke over the weekend that Soto could be snapped up in Washington, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that rival executives believe the Nationals would need the “biggest trade package ever” to part ways with the Dominican outfielder. .

“A Herschel Walker deal,” an MLB general manager told ESPN.

This, of course, refers to the biggest trade in NFL history which involved a total of 18 players and draft picks when the Vikings acquired the star from the Dallas Cowboys in 1989.

Major League Baseball, however, does not allow teams to trade most types of future draft picks for players, potentially making it harder for Washington to find the right suitor.

The reality in these situations is that parting with generational talent is often not profitable for the teams that trade them.

Baseball history is littered with the kind of one-sided deals that saw, say, Oakland A slugger Mark McGwire in 1997 at the St. Louis Cardinals.

Finding the right partner for Soto could also be complicated. Not only would the team acquiring Soto logically have to have an attractive farming system for the domestic championships to be attracted, but the club would need an ownership group willing to pay Soto when the time comes.

The New York Post reported on Sunday that Soto’s agent Scott Boras is seeking a long-term deal for his client similar to Max Scherzer’s $43 million annual salary or Alex Rodriguez’s record-breaking 2000 deal. in which the slugger was paid 40% more than the second highest paid player in the league. The price will likely keep many teams from getting involved.

There will be those, however, who will not hesitate. After all, players like Soto are rarely made available. The New York Post also reported that the San Diego Padres were already among those who expressed interest – with San Diego keen to pair Soto with superstar Fernando Tatis Jr.

The Padres have shown a willingness to spend — Tatis and Manny Machado each have $300 million contracts — and their farming system is still healthy despite a string of big trades over the past few years. They hold MLB Pipeline’s ninth overall prospect in shortstop CJ Abrams and have four overall in the top 100.

Then there’s the Los Angeles Dodgers, with a history of franchise-switching deals with the Nationals — see last year’s deal with Trea Turner and Scherzer. They too still have a well-stocked talent pool despite being an annual nominee. The Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Yankees have also been pitched in recent days.

Ironically, it might be the Tigers who could make the most enticing offer. They have two top-five prospects in outfielder Riley Greene and first baseman Spencer Torkelson, but it should be noted that the latter was recently sent to the minors after hitting .197 this season.

Yet the Tigers have been in this position before. They did pretty well last time.

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