It is rare that you see someone turn down over 400 million dollars. However, this was exactly the case with Juan Soto as he declined the 15-year $440 million deal that was presented to him. This decision has led the Nationals to search for a new destination for the superstar and has lit up the trade market in a major way.
Every MLB team would love to have a chance at the 23-year-old and the Chicago Cubs are no different. The Cubs have begun rebuilding following the success of their World Series win in 2016. They made the decision to move on from franchise cornerstones Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant in order to embrace rebuilding the farm system. Chicago currently has a 40-57 record and is not expected to compete this season.
Juan Soto is the type of talent worthy of changing plans for and also a player who can accelerate a rebuild. The Cubs have done a solid job rebuilding their farm system but some key players would certainly be required to be sent out in order to land the superstar. Baseball is a sport that is extremely difficult to evaluate upcoming talent and landing a true superstar in the process is a solid gamble to make.
The best Juan Soto trade package Cubs must offer Nationals
It has been reported that the asking price for Soto includes a team's top four prospects, young major leagues, and potentially the willingness to take on Patrick Corbin's contract. The Nationals signed Corbin to a six-year deal worth $140 million prior to the 2019 season. He has two more years following this season on the deal with the final season carrying a $35 million cap hit. With this all in mind, let's see what the best offer the Cubs could put together could be.
Cubs Get: Juan Soto, Patrick Corbin
Nationals Get: Pete Crow-Armstrong, Jordan Wicks, Justin Steele, Nico Hoerner, Christopher Morel, Willson Contreras
This is a haul to give up but is what will be required for Juan Soto. There has never been a player of his caliber in the modern baseball era and there is a legitimate chance even this is not enough to get the Nationals to pull the trigger.
The most recognizable name on this list is Willson Contreras who is in the midst of his best season in the MLB. The catcher made his third all-star appearance this season and has hit 14 home runs so far this year. Getting back an all-star in return could help move the needle from the Nationals' perspective. While Contreras is a terrific player, there is speculation the Cubs may be looking to move on from him unless he is willing to take a team-friendly deal. Juan Soto is about as great of a return as you can hope for.
Pete Crow-Armstrong was acquired in the trade that sent out Javy Baez and is considered the number three prospect in the MLB. He is an MLB-ready defender who has showcased the power and speed tools that made him a top 20 pick. The outfielder has a bright MLB future and is the caliber of prospect the Nats will be in search of.
Jordan Wicks and Justin Steele are a pair of young pitchers with intriguing potential. Wicks was the 2021 first-round pick by the Cubs and has an impressive change-up. Some experts believe he will be MLB-ready as soon as next season.
Nico Hoerner has had a difficult start to his MLB journey due to a number of injuries. He is an intriguing shortstop who can do it all when he is on the field. He has been able to stay healthy this year and has already set career-highs in just about every statistical category. Rookie Christopher Morel also has made a strong impact on the Cubs this season. His mix of power, speed, and emotion makes him a terrific long-term option.
Is this a ton to give up? Absolutely. However, if the Cubs are looking to flip back into contenders Juan Soto is the type of superstar it takes for this to occur. The franchise has done a great job rebuilding its farm system however it is unlikely any of these players reach the level Soto is currently at. It also is worth noting he has two more years under contract before the looming extension would kick in. The bottom line is the Chicago Cubs have a number of intriguing prospects that could be enough to land the superstar. It is an anomaly that a player like Soto is on the trade market and the franchise has a chance to capitalize if they choose to.