Nationals star Juan Soto admits he is 'really uncomfortable' with contract and trade speculation

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As one of the brightest young stars in baseball, Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto was once thought to be untouchable on the trade market.

Shortly after rejecting a 15-year contract to stay with the Nationals, however, Soto finds himself on the trading block, and he isn’t sure what to think about it.

"It feels really uncomfortable," Soto told reporters ahead of Monday’s Home Run Derby in Los Angeles. "You don't know what to trust. But at the end of the day, it's out of my hands in what decision they make."

Over the weekend, Soto rejected a 15-year, $440million contract extension offer, leading to fresh speculation that the 23-year-old slugger is available with the August 2 trade deadline fast approaching.

That deal would have carried the largest total value in baseball history, but the average annual salary of $29.3 million would rank 16th in the league this season – not enough to appease Soto’s representation.

By the lofty standards he set for himself, Soto had a slow start to this season and is hitting .250 at the break, although his 20 home runs have him tied for 14th in the majors.

Soto admitted that, despite his best efforts, his future has been on his mind during this season.

"Here and there, you know. But you can't blame that on your stats or anything you can do on the field," he said. "At the end of the day, I just try to forget about everything outside for three hours, and try to be the 12-year-old that I've been and play baseball as hard as I can and try to enjoy it as much as I can."

After winning the 2019 World Series, the Nationals have been well below .500 in the past two seasons, and are 31-63 this campaign.

Washington have already traded other pillars of that championship team – notably, Max Scherzer and Trea Turner – and Soto’s situation leaves general manager Mike Rizzo on the verge of a total organizational rebuild.

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