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Commentary: The Cardinals must make a serious bid for a generational talent like Juan Soto

"There's a chance to land a 23-year-old future Hall of Famer. The Cardinals have the prospects and bank account to make it happen. They have to try."
Credit: AP
Washington Nationals' Juan Soto celebrates his home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, July 17, 2022, in Washington. The Nationals won 7-3. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

ST. LOUIS — It's not often a professional baseball team has the chance to acquire Ted Williams. But as it currently stands, that's exactly the opportunity the rest of the league is looking with the Nationals reportedly dangling Juan Soto out for the taking.

After the news came out that Soto had rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract from Washington, an online feeding frenzy broke out with fans of just about every fan base putting together trade scenarios for the 23-year-old phenom.

While there are multiple things that could hang up the Cardinals from being the ones pulling the trigger, they have to give it a serious try. And I do mean a serious try. That means parting with prospects they love and opening the pocket book.

They have the prospects. If they really want to, they can make the money work. And they already have a cornerstone combination in Arenado and Goldschmidt they can't afford not to go all-in with.

Like I alluded to previously, this is the opportunity to trade for a player with likely at least 10 more Hall of Famer caliber seasons ahead of him. Heck, his top five similarity scores through age 22 on Baseball Reference are Mike Trout, Frank Robinson, Bryce Harper, Miguel Cabrera and Mickey Mantle.

It could be very likely that any Soto trade with the Cardinals would be predicated on the inclusion of super prospect Jordan Walker going to DC in the deal. And perhaps that's a nonstarter.

After all, Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak has stated previously that the only prospects he's seen that come close to Walker are Albert Pujols and Oscar Taveras.

I may be the biggest Jordan Walker believer in the St. Louis area. And if he's the price it takes, I may opt to think as the Cardinals do and say we can't make a deal happen.

RELATED: Cardinals top prospect pair Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn have big talent and even bigger dreams

But if there is room to make a deal without Walker, the Cardinals should be in prime shape.

Prospects and young Major Leaguers like Nolan Gorman, Matthew Liberatore, Zack Thompson, Harrison Bader, Dylan Carlson, Brendan Donovan, Gordon Graceffo, Ivan Herrera, Alex Burleson and even Masyn Winn or Tink Hence should be in the conversation.

I'm a huge prospect honk, so it pains me to include names like Winn and Hence in a trade package, but it's a necessity here if you want to get a guy like Soto.

After all, Soto is a proven superstar on track for the Hall of Fame. No matter how much you'd love the guys you're giving up, none of them can say that yet.

And as others have also surmised in recent days, if you get the Nationals to throw in Patrick Corbin's bad contract, perhaps the ask comes down a bit.

Now there's a decent chance the Cardinals are laughing at all of us on Twitter throwing out these hypothetical trade packages because there's no chance in the world they'd give Soto the $500 million extension he's looking for.

And that would just be the way it goes. We can't spend the Cardinals' money for them, as much as we'd like to.

But I'd really like to believe that the man writing those checks, Bill DeWitt Jr., sees the opportunity Soto could bring not just for the next few years, but as a cornerstone for the next decade-plus.

The Cardinals will likely be competing with teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Padres and Giants if they do make a run at Soto. And teams like that often win when it comes to acquiring superstars. But with the capital the Cardinals have in their stockroom, they owe it to the fans to take a legitimate shot at bringing Soto to town.

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