Star 23-year-old Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto is firmly on the trade block with the St. Louis Cardinals emerging as one of the favorites to land him.
Soto is seen as a generational talent and should net Washington an historical return if he’s dealt ahead of the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline.
In addition to the Cardinals, Soto has been linked to three of the four National League West teams, the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. Things are heating up big time in this regard.
Did we mention that Soto is still only 23 years old? That’s insane. Below we look at how a Soto trade to the contending cardinals might look.
Related: Ideal Juan Soto trade scenarios
Likely cost of the St. Louis Cardinals acquiring Juan Soto
Washington is said to be looking for at least five top-end prospects, some of which are Major League ready. It is also seeking current big-league players who are under team control for the long-term.
The good news? St. Louis has a combination of the two. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reportedly recently that the Cardinals have made stud rookie Nolan Gorman available in talks with Washington.
A second baseman by trade, Gorman was the Cardinals’ top prospect last season before making his way to St. Louis this year. The 22-year-old former first-round pick is hitting a mere .229 this season, but has belted nine homers in 54 games. This came after he hit 25 homers and drove in 75 runs in the minors a season ago.
One might envision Gorman as the headliner in a potential Soto deal. But so much more would have to head to he nation’s capital for this to happen.
Related: Juan Soto and top MLB trade rumors
Washington front office head Mike Rizzo would undoubtedly demand stud young right fielder Dylan Carlson to replace Soto in right field.
Carlson, 23, was a first-round pick back in 2017. He jumped on to the scene as season ago after being ranked No. 1 among Cardinals prospects to open the 2020 campaign. That included Carlson hitting 18 homers and driving in 65 runs while posting a solid .780 OPS. He ultimately finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting.
Here’s how a remainder of a Soto trade to the Cardinals might look. Keep in mind, we’re talking about a potential historical haul.
- St. Louis Cardinals trade: Nolan Gorman, Matthew Liberatore, Gordon Graceffo, Dylan Carlson, Luken Baker
- Washington Nationals trade: Juan Soto
Outside of Gorman and Carlson, Liberatore would be the headliner heading back to D.C. A first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays back in 2018, he was the top prep pitcher in that class. For good reason. We’re talking about the Cardinals’ No. 2 prospect and someone who dominated minor league pitching before being called up to the bigs. The 22-year-old lefty struck out 74 batters in 68.1 innings at Triple-A Memphis.
A fellow pitcher, Gordon Graceffo has simply been brilliant at the lower levels this season — posting a 2.18 ERA and 0.84 WHIP while striking out 97 batters in 99 innings between high Single-A and Double A.
As for Baker, he currently ranks as the Cardinals’ No. 12 prospect and is currently in Triple-A where the first baseman has hit 16 homers in 81 games.
All said, Washington nets four players who could join the big league club immediately in Gorman, Liberatore, Carlson and Baker. All four could be franchise cornerstones moving forward.
From St. Louis perspective, this is quite the bounty to provide Washington. But just imagine Juan Soto joining a lineup that already includes fellow All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado.
Not only would this enable the Cardinals to compete in the NL Central moving forward this season, it would make this a legitimate World Series contender over the long-term.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.