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What would a blockbuster deal look like in the NBA, NFL or NHL? – NBC New York

What would a Soto-like trade look like in other sports? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

A stat tweeted Tuesday by NBC Sports Washington’s Matt Weyrich lets you know how rare it is for a player of Juan Soto’s caliber and age to be traded. Weyrich noted that Soto is 15th all-time with .967 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) and that the only other player in the top 15 to switch teams before age 25 was Babe Ruth.

Ruth, of course, was part of what is perhaps the most infamous roster change in sports history. He transitioned from the Red Sox to the Yankees and started the “curse of the bambino,” which, if you believe such things, contributed to an 86-year championship drought for the Sox. It was a pivotal narrative in one of the most iconic rivalries in all of sports.

The Soto trade is so rare in baseball, but it seems like it would be even more unusual if it had happened in another sport. There are unique baseball elements that appear to have contributed to the controversial move.

For example, the fact that there is no salary cap and that allows players to sign larger contracts over a longer period of time. This leads to a larger gap in resources between teams. The perceived worth of individual players also varies, which is why Alex Rodriguez was able to win MVP in 2003 despite being bottom-placed at one club.

But let’s consider how these parallels would look if a similar trade to Tuesday’s occurred in one of the other major sports. Whether the comparisons are perfect or not, they should show how important the Soto trade is…

NBA: Luka Doncic (23) or Jayson Tatum (24)

It’s hard to imagine a Soto-like trade going under in the NBA because star players are so sought after and because the salary cap creates a more even playing field in terms of retaining your own. The prospect of a player leaving free agency to sign a $500 million contract lasting more than a decade is just not there. For all the star moves in the NBA, a true parallel is hard to find.

But if there was, there would probably be a player like Doncic or Tatum. Doncic is 23 years old, same as Soto, while Tatum is 24 years old. Both are widely regarded as the best players in football today and have a chance to prove themselves as greats over time. According to NBC Sports Washington’s NBA Player Rankings, Tatum is sixth and Doncic is seventh. Either the Celtics or the Mavericks making them commercially available at any point would be a stunning turn of events.

The best recent comparison for a Soto-like blockbuster that actually happened would be Anthony Davis’ move from the Pelicans to the Lakers in 2019. Davis was only 26, still young, if not as young as Soto, and very good. However, Soto is closer to being the best player in his sport than Davis is or was at the time. Also, Davis was two years away from freelance and his departure was signaled miles away by credible rumors and the connection between him and LeBron James through their agent. Soto, on the other hand, has more than two years left on his current contract.

Juan Soto is in his fifth year with the majors and is already attracting trading interest across the league.

NFL: Patrick Mahomes (26) or Josh Allen (25)

While comparing the value of NFL quarterbacks to other sports will never be apple-to-apple, the best parallels to Soto in the NFL illustrate how surprising such a trade would be. Pro Football Focus has Mahomes as the fifth best player in the league at just 26. Allen, meanwhile, is seventh and 25th. Both players have received major contract extensions from their respective teams.

It might be difficult to compare Soto to a quarterback because he’s one of nine players in the lineup, only scores about four times per game, and therefore doesn’t impact wins and losses to the same extent. Nonetheless, Soto is on track to become the highest paid player in the sport. His skills as a left-hander, who can get to base, average and hit powerfully, are about as valuable as they are in baseball. Imagine if the Chiefs traded Mahomes 2 1/2 years before his free agency because they didn’t want to pay him. It is difficult to understand.

NHL: Austin Matthews (24)

Most of the best players in the NHL are a little older than Soto, but Matthews, the 2021-22 Hart Trophy (the NHL’s MVP award) winner, is only 24 years old. Matthews has also led the NHL in goals for the past two seasons. TSN ranks him as the third best player in hockey, similar to Soto, who MLB.com ranks fourth in baseball. Like Soto, Matthews is one of the best players in his sport specifically because of his offense. Like Soto, Matthews has two years left on his current contract. At this point, there appear to be no serious trade rumors involving Matthews and Toronto manager Brendan Shanahan has stood by his plans to re-sign him.

If ever a Soto-like blockbuster went under in the NHL, it wouldn’t be unprecedented. Hockey has the ultimate “if it can be traded, anyone can” example because Wayne Gretzky, after his season at the age of 27, in the midst of his prime, and after winning a staggering eight MVP awards over a nine year period , was dealt . The team that sold him, the Edmonton Oilers, had also won the previous four championships with him as the best player. Much like the Nationals with Soto, the franchise felt they couldn’t pay their star as he approached free agency.

The result was a deal so shocking and significant that the Canadian government tried to block it (an idea for Congress?). So in that sense, maybe it could be worse. At least the Nationals didn’t trade the greatest player of all time at the peak of his powers. At least there is.

Here are five things you should know about Home Rub Derby and World Series Champion Juan Soto.

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