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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo: ‘We are not trading Juan Soto’

“We are not trading Juan Soto,” Mike Rizzo said Wednesday on 106.7 the Fan. “We made it clear to his agent and to the player.” (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo on Wednesday said the team won’t trade star outfielder Juan Soto, comments that came amid recent trade speculation. He addressed the matter during an appearance on The Junkies on 106.7 the Fan.

“We are not trading Juan Soto,” Rizzo said. “We made it clear to his agent and to the player. I understand these journalists; they’ve got to 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.”

Rizzo said he has had many conversations with Soto and his agent, Scott Boras — including during the most recent homestand, when Boras visited Washington — and has made it clear the Nationals have no intention of trading Soto.

“No, it doesn’t frustrate me,” Rizzo said while speaking to reporters in New York before adding that the storyline is one that generates a lot of interest. “This is a very clickable, very writable story, and I can only say so many times and in so many words what our decision on that topic is.”

Washington, which launched a rebuild last season, is off to a dismal start, prompting speculation among fans and baseball writers about the 23-year-old’s future with the team.

Soto would hit free agency after the 2024 season. Ahead of the lockout this past offseason, Washington made him a 13-year, $350 million offer, which he declined.

Soto was batting .232 with nine home runs and 42 walks heading into Wednesday afternoon’s game at the New York Mets. He has won two Silver Slugger awards and was the National League batting champion in the shortened 2020 season.

“He’s got barrel recognition. He’s got pitch recognition. He’s got the power, the quickness, the bat speed, the balance. He’s got the whole hitting package,” Rizzo said. “He’s as good as anybody that’s ever played the game. He’s as good as anybody in the league. And he’s a National, and we’re proud of that.”

Jesse Dougherty in New York contributed to this report.