Questions surrounding the Mets’ pursuit of Soto
This story is excerpted from Anthony DiComo’s Mets Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, Click here. And subscribe to receive it regularly in your inbox.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? While it’s never wise to assume a player of Soto’s caliber will be dealt with at all times, news last weekend that Soto rejected a $440 million contract offer from the Nationals, which then put on the trading block, giving the idea of him playing for the Mets at least a possibility.
After this season, Soto has another two years under the control of the team under important eight-figure arbitration agreements. (He’s making $17.1 million this season.) Any team that acquires him should probably have at least some interest in offering an extension, which could become MLB’s first contract worth a half. -billion.
Could the Mets be that team? Answers to your Soto questions:
No, seriously, could the Mets really be that team?
Since buying the Mets in November 2020, Steve Cohen traded for Francisco Lindor and later extended him on a $341 million contract; signed Max Scherzer to the highest annual contract (three years at $130 million) in MLB history; paid by far the largest payroll in franchise history (which could soon exceed $300 million, depending on what the team does by the trade deadline); and more.
Adding Soto would only reinforce the narrative that Cohen is ready to do whatever it takes to build a winner in Flushing. From that point on, if a player becomes available — whether it’s a high-profile trade target like Soto or a free agent like Scherzer — it’s fair to assume the Mets will be involved.
Do they have the prospect capital to close a deal?
Theoretically yes, because they have Francisco Álvarez. As the No. 2 MLB Pipeline prospect who is on the cusp of the Majors at age 20, Álvarez would be high on any team’s wish list. The Mets wouldn’t suspend Álvarez without a good reason, but Soto is a good enough reason – the type of player that forces general managers to rethink the term ‘untouchable’.
It’s also safe to assume that Álvarez alone wouldn’t be enough. Other top prospects in the Mets organization include Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio, Alex Ramirez, Mark Vientos and Matt Allan. It would almost certainly take a significant combination of those players to lure Soto away from the Nationals, even if the Mets complete the deal by taking, say, bad deals from Stephen Strasburg or Patrick Corbin.
So yes, the Mets have the ability to make this deal, even if it’s possible they’ll be outbid by the Dodgers, Yankees or another big-market team with a deep farm system.
Again, saying the Mets box making a trade does not necessarily mean that they will want to make it. Over the past two years, Cohen has often spoken about wanting to become the Eastern Dodgers, which means designing a sustainable operation that can consistently pump out quality homegrown players. Cutting off the top of their farm would defeat that purpose, even though returning is a generational talent.
Is Soto worth it?
Yes, it’s probably worth it. Consider his “low” season includes a league-leading OPS of .901, 79 walks and a league-adjusted OPS+ of 162, all with little protection (aside from Josh Bell) in the Nationals roster.
Seen through this prism, Soto only underlined his talent and his value. He’s only 23 and has no significant injury history. More than that, he’s the type of dynamic personality the Mets (or any team) could happily revolve their marketing around for the next decade. Soto is a franchise face type player, with the skills to back him up.
Surround him with better hitters than his current teammates, and the cap becomes unlimited.
What do they say?
Asked specifically about the Mets at All-Star media day, Soto smiled and told reporters“Playing in New York against the Mets, I love it. I love playing against them and hitting the ball far. If you’ve seen my numbers on that court, it’s amazing.
Mets players also gushed about the possibility of Soto in Flushing.
“It would be phenomenal,” said outfielder Starling Marte, who has known Soto for years. “He’s one of those players that you look at and say, ‘Wow, he’s a terrific ball player. I’m really proud of the way he played in his career, the way he acted in his career. He’s one of those guys who has no flaws. »