The San Francisco Giants were interested in a Juan Soto trade, but clearly never got close to an agreement with the Washington Nationals. General manager Farhan Zaidi thinks he knows why, at least in part.
In an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area’s “Giants Talk” podcast, Zaidi admitted it was hard to sell the Nationals on the prospects the team was offering in light of their current minor league performances.
“We all see these prospect rankings and a lot of them are done in the offseason. Certain prospect rankings update during the season, but current year performance matters a lot in how the industry views these players,” Zaidi said, via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Health or underperformance — which the reality is, we’ve seen with a few of our players — can really impact their short-term value even if you are still very bullish on their long-term prospects.
“Even from a PR standpoint, I think when you’re talking about trading away a star player, a franchise player, you don’t want to say the second- or third-best player you got is hitting .175 in a-ball. That represents a little bit of a challenge in situations like we found ourselves in this trade deadline but it doesn’t impact our view of our system in the long run.”
The player Zaidi is referring to is likely outfielder Luis Matos, who is rated by MLB.com as the No. 3 prospect in the Giants’ system. Matos was hitting .177 at High-A at the time of the trade, likely limiting his appeal in talks no matter how high the Giants may still be on him.
The Padres gave up a huge package for Soto, and it’s easy to see why Washington preferred theirs. C.J. Abrams and MacKenzie Gore are basically MLB-ready, and the Padres were able to add on more top prospects on top of that. Things just did not fall in the Giants’ favor here, and they may have to pay for it with Soto in the division for two more seasons.