If you’ve been following baseball at all, you know that Juan Soto, one of the best players in all of baseball, is likely to be traded from the Washington Nationals after rejecting a 15 year, $440 million contract. The Nats are reportedly looking for 4+ top prospects, young major leaguers, and a willingness to take on Patrick Corbin’s contract.
For many reasons we can get into, the Twins will never make this trade. Soto’s expected arbitration salary and Corbin’s contract would add around $50 million to the books in 2023, and $65 million in 2024. Two players, one of whom is very bad, making up almost half of your payroll is not something the Twins will ever do.
However, if there was ever a player to be worth it, that player is Juan Soto. Soto is only 23, younger than Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Jose Miranda, Joe Ryan, Royce Lewis, and a host of the Twins’ top prospects. He’s also, arguably, the best hitter in baseball. He has 2.5 years of team control remaining. This year, which is a down year for him, he still has an OPS of .901, 62% better than league average. He has two silver sluggers, two All-Star selections, and carried the entire Nationals offense in their 2019 championship run at 19 years old. Players of his caliber, at his age, and with his amount of team control simply never become available. Ever.
Here’s the tricky part of this exercise: Juan Soto is so valuable that Baseball Trade Values doesn’t really know how to handle it. The system breaks when I try to add enough prospects to it to make a realistic trade offer, so we’ll be free styling a bit.
By all logic, the Twins would never trade for Juan Soto. The cost is too prohibitive, and they don’t have the prospect capital of teams like St. Louis and San Diego. But Juan Soto is the type of player who defies logical reasoning. If he’s available, the Twins have to at least see if he’s an option. So humor me as I take you along this pointless exercise.
Proposal 1: Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Austin Martin, and 2 wildcards for Juan Soto and Patrick Corbin
Technically, BTV’s system doesn’t accept this trade for two reasons. The first is that the Twins’ trade value doesn’t quite get high enough, the second because there’s no single player of high enough value to justify the trade. However, I think think that BTV’s system undervalues both Alex Kirilloff and Austin Martin, so I’m counting this as a good offer.
Losing Polanco would be a blow to the Twins. He’s a staple of the lineup and one of the most consistent producers, but he’s relatively young and has team control, making him a valuable asset for the Nationals going forward. In the meantime, Arraez steps in as the every day second baseman while Jose Miranda and the ghost of Miguel Sano pick up the time left at first. The Twins also have Spencer Steer and Matt Wallner in the high minors who could pick up at-bats vacated by Kirilloff and Larnach, along with Gilberto Celestino. Critically, this trade also allows the Twins to hold onto Royce Lewis, who should still be viewed as Correa insurance even with the torn ACL delaying his start next year.
As for the wildcards, essentially you’re letting Washington select two young, lower ranked prospects that could develop into something in the future. Think Steve Hajjar, Marco Raya, Keoni Cavaco, or Misael Urbina, guys along those lines.
In return, the Twins get back Soto who will split time at DH and left field, and see if there’s anything they can get out of Patrick Corbin, who might still be a better option than Dylan Bundy as is.
Proposal 2: Throw the whole farm system at them, plus one young guy for Soto and Corbin
I added the maximum amount of players I could in the proposal above, so if you include Simeon Woods Richardson (worth 6.1 in trade value), Noah Miller (4.8), and account for Austin Martin being undervalued, you get to a solid proposal.
This trade boils down to letting the Nationals pick which young big leaguer they like most between Kirilloff, Larnach, and Miranda, and then you give them seven of the Twins’ top 10 prospects. It’s a lot, I know.
The advantage to this proposal over the first one is clear. You get to hang on to more known quantities that help the major league roster now. In this scenario, you also are mostly trading away hitting prospects rather than pitchers, which would be beneficial to the Twins. The organization has shown a huge talent for developing hitters, but the pitching has lagged behind. Hanging onto most of your top pitching prospects would be a boon for the Twins.
The biggest loss in this trade is probably Royce Lewis. With how much money the Twins would have dedicated to Soto and Corbin, it’s pretty unlikely they would spend to keep Carlos Correa around, so losing Lewis would hurt, but that’s the cost of picking up a perennial MVP candidate at 23-years old. Also, of course, the Twins farm system would be barren.
Will either of these trades happen? Almost certainly not. But this is the type of return the Nationals both expect and, frankly, deserve for Juan Soto. I’ll leave it in your hands now.
IF the Twins were to trade for Juan Soto, which proposal would you prefer?
This poll is closed
Proposal 1: Polanco, Kirilloff, Larnach, Martin + 2 Wildcards
Proposal 2: One of Kirilloff/Larnach/Miranda + 7 of the Twins Top 10 Prospects