- The Washington Times
Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo wants to make it clear: Superstar outfielder Juan Soto isn’t on the trade block. 

Rizzo said on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday morning that the Nationals won’t be trading Soto, remaining steadfast in his hope to build a championship-winning team around the 23-year-old superstar. Rizzo’s comments come amid some speculation from national baseball writers who have reported that executives from other teams believe the rebuilding Nationals could trade Soto this summer. 

“We are not trading Juan Soto,” Rizzo said “We’ve made it clear to his agent and to the player. I understand these journalists have to fill a blank sheet of paper every day. It’s a good thing to get some attention on a story.” 

“We have every intention of building this team around Juan Soto,” Rizzo continued. “We’ve spoken to his agent many, many times, recently sat with him when he was in Washington, D.C., and made it clear to him that we are not interested in trading him. I guess the rest of the world just doesn’t believe it, but that’s our position.”

To be clear, Rizzo’s words on a morning radio show aren’t binding, and taking a hardline stance in public regarding Soto’s future could be a tactic to drive up his price — one that would be astronomically high for a player as productive and as young as Soto

Soto’s agent is Scott Boras, who is famously known for taking his elite players to free agency rather than signing extensions during the arbitration period. The Nationals reportedly offered Soto a 13-year, $350 million extension in November, but the 2021 National League MVP runner-up turned it down. 

The comments from Rizzo are similar to those he made before spring training began when he called Soto the “face of the franchise.”

“This is his team,” Rizzo said in March. “He’s the face of the franchise. I want him here for the long term.”

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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