As if things weren’t feeling dismal enough on the North Side, the dark cloud of Cardinals devil magic continues to produce rumblings on the Juan Soto front. Thought to be favorites among potential Nationals trade partners due to their strong farm system and solid core, Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat is reporting that the two sides have exchanged names as discussions heat up ahead of the deadline.
The Cardinals would center their offer around second baseman Nolan Gorman and third base prospect Jordan Walker, a first-round pick in 2020 who MLB.com ranks No. 1 in the system. St. Louis reportedly included Gorman rather than part with both Walker and shortstop prospect Masyn Winn, their No. 4 ranked prospect who gained acclaim for setting a record by firing a throw to first at 100.5 mph during the Futures Game.
Even with two of the Cards’ best young players involved, the Nats would surely be looking for a great deal more in return for their 23-year-old superstar who comps to Ted Williams and Mike Trout. Initial reports had them seeking at least four young prospects and/or MLB players, which would be the case even if a team was willing to take on Patrick Corbin and the roughly $69 million he’s owed through 2024.
Jones reports that Corbin would indeed be part of the proposed deal here and he suggests the 33-year-old lefty could get back on track “in the capable hands of Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux and his staff.” Thing is, the Nationals might not actually be trying to affix Corbin to the deal just to divest themselves of his remaining financial obligation.
“We’re not going to dilute the return for any player by including a bad contract,” Washington president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo told The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday morning.
I’d love to take Rizzo at his word, but that would mean ignoring the Cardinals’ long history of stealing star players for almost nothing. It would be the most Cardinals thing ever to get Soto for much less than expected because they managed to get Corbin thrown in, then to see Corbin become an ace while all the prospects the Nationals receive eventually turn into corn cobs.
To top it all off, Soto will end up signing an extension with St. Louis for something well shy of the 15 years, $440 million offer he already turned down. Citing his love of provel cheese and a desire to play the right way for the classiest organization in sports, he’ll work out a deal that allows the Best Fans in Baseball to keep thumbing their noses at the Dodgers, Mets, and Yankees.
The Cubs, meanwhile, will be out on any number of perfect fits in free agency because the qualifying offer has returned following the inability to reach an agreement on an international draft. Life is pain.