The MLB All-Star Game is a time for some of baseball's best players to take a breather from the stresses of the gruelling 162-game season and enjoy themselves.
For Toronto Blue Jays infielder Santiago Espinal, the Midsummer Classic was also an opportunity to try and improve his team. Espinal reportedly talked to Juan Soto after the All-Star Game and made a pitch for why the Washington Nationals superstar and reigning Home Run Derby champion should join the Blue Jays.
"Come on over with us. You'd look better in blue," Espinal told Soto, per Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun.
Soto's name has surfaced in trade rumours over the past week after he reportedly rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract extension from the Nationals. Any team would be foolish to not at least pick up the phone and call Washington about a potential deal.
The 23-year-old outfielder is under team control through the 2024 season, so if a club were to acquire him ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline it would be for three hypothetical playoff pushes. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo won't want to rush into a trade with an asset as valuable as Soto, so an offseason deal might be more realistic.
If the Nationals do eventually decide to move Soto, Toronto is a possible fit given the club's combination of young major-league-calibre players and strong farm system. Whether Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins would be willing to empty the cupboards for Soto is debatable, especially since Shapiro reportedly "scolded" former general manager Alex Anthopoulos for trading away so many high-end prospects in 2015.
The Blue Jays would be a bit of a soft landing spot for the left-handed slugger given his friendship with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The two stars know each other from the Dominican Republic and rose through baseball's ranks together.
Soto is enjoying another incredible season in 2022 despite not having much lineup protection around him. His batting average is down to .250 but he leads the majors in walks, has already hit 20 home runs and carries a .901 OPS.
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