As the MLB trade deadline grows ever closer, all eyes are on Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and the Juan Soto sweepstakes.

After offering the 23-year-old superstar a massive 15-year $440 million contract offer which was rejected, the Nationals are now fielding trade offers. The interest is significant, but Rizzo is standing firm that whoever wants Soto will pay the Nationals’ price and nothing less.

“We’re in conversations with several teams that have real interest in him,” Rizzo told The Sports Junkies on D.C.’s 106.7 The Fan radio. “We’re going to have to get the deal that we want … that gets us an opportunity to become a championship organization faster than not trading him.”

The Yankees and Mets are among the teams interested in Soto. The Post’s Jon Heyman reported the Cardinals have recently emerged as the frontrunner.

Juan Soto hits a two-RBI triple against the Los Angele Dodgers.
Juan Soto hits a two-RBI triple against the Los Angele Dodgers.
USA TODAY Sports

Soto has burst onto the scene since entering the league in 2018. The outfielder has solidified himself as one of the best offensive players in baseball, slashing .291/.426/.539 with 118 home runs in four-plus seasons. He also has more career walks (456) than strikeouts (411).

Whispers and rumors around the league had been saying that a team could get those incredible numbers at a discount by taking on one some of the uglier contracts on the Nationals’ payroll. Patrick Corbin is making $23.3 million per year while pitching to a 6.02 ERA, and Stephen Strasburg is making $35 million per year and has only appeared in eight games since 2019.

Rizzo met that speculation head on, making it known they will not “dilute” a trade with one of those contracts.

“We’re not going to dilute a return for any player by adding a bad contract,” Rizzo said. “We want to get the most for every trade that we do.”

Juan Soto signs autographs for Dodgers fan on July 26, 2022.
Juan Soto signs autographs for Dodgers fan on July 26, 2022.
AP

If what Rizzo is saying is the truth, it is going to take a substantial haul to land Soto. With less than a week to go before the trade deadline the clock is ticking for the right offer to come through.

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