Mike Rizzo shot down any speculation that Juan Soto might be on the trade block this summer in a radio interview Wednesday, telling 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies he’s spoken with the right fielder’s agent Scott Boras to emphasize the club has no plans of moving forward without him.
“We are not trading Juan Soto,” the Nationals’ president and GM said. “We made it clear to his agent and to the player. I understand these journalists have gotta fill a blank sheet of paper every day. It’s a good thing to get some attention on a story. But we have every intention of building this team around Juan Soto and we’ve spoken with his agent many, many times.
“Recently, we sat with [Boras] when he was in Washington, D.C. We made it clear to him that we’re not interested in trading him and I guess the rest of the world just doesn’t believe it.”
ESPN’s Buster Olney published a story May 18 that quoted multiple “rival execs” who believed the Nationals could motivated to trade Soto at the Aug. 2 deadline. His colleague Bradford Doolittle then dove into the numbers to see which teams would benefit the most from acquiring him. However, Rizzo left little room for interpretation: Soto isn’t going anywhere right now.
The Nationals still have the 23-year-old signed through the 2024 season, after which he’ll become a free agent. Rizzo stated before the season that inking Soto to a long-term extension was the club’s “No. 1 priority.” Talks between the two sides were ongoing as of Opening Day and, as Rizzo said, Boras was in town for the Nationals’ series with the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.
Despite the Nationals’ actual intentions, Soto told NBC Sports Washington on Friday it hasn’t been easy blocking out the rumors and speculation.
“It’s just too much stuff that comes up nowadays,” Soto said. “It can just get you off your game, get you out of your focus and I just try to be away from it.
“I just try to come here and play baseball. I just let my agent take care of it. All the rumors and everything that they’re talking about, I just let those guys talk with them and I just come into the field, try to forget about what they’re saying, the noise outside and just try to focus on my game.”