Trade deadline preview: Juan Soto sweepstakes down to wire

by | Jul 31, 2022 | Sports

When Juan Soto turned down a $440 million, 15-year deal to stay with the Washington Nationals, it ensured Tuesday’s 6 p.m. EDT trade deadline would have a little juice.That wasn’t a certainty when Major League Baseball and the players’ union agreed to an expanded postseason format this spring. With 12 October spots available — and no more one-game wild-card rounds — some had concerns about whether there would be enough star power left among sellers to satisfy a potentially growing number of buyers.A quick glance at the standings shows at least 18 teams with legitimate playoff aspirations — 18 clubs that might benefit from Willson Contreras, Josh Bell or Frankie Montas, among others. With Soto, there could be even more bidders than that. The 23-year-old is a two-time All-Star, a Home Run Derby champion, a World Series winner and famously one of the most difficult at-bats in baseball. Pry him away from the Nationals, and a club could enjoy 2½ seasons of Soto and his signature batter’s box shuffle before he can test free agency.Of course, with so many suitors, Washington is sure to extract a heavy haul for Soto’s services. The Nationals haven’t seemed keen on a long-lasting rebuild, prioritizing near-ready talent when t …

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