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This week in sports: Brittney Griner, women's soccer and MLB trade deadlines

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: A huge weekend in women's soccer, baseball trade deadline approaches, and the U.S. government makes an offer to try to get Brittney Griner and another American home. Howard Bryant of Meadowlark Media joins us.

Good morning, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. How are you?

SIMON: I'm fine, thanks. We have two finals in women's soccer this weekend, between four teams, all unbeaten. Tonight at 8, Colombia faces Brazil over the South American championship. And tomorrow at noon, England versus Germany for the European title. These are two potentially great games, aren't they?

BRYANT: Well, they are. And you can have a great deal of satisfaction of if they go the right ways. On the one hand, both - you have - both Brazil and England are both going to be at home. And those are going to be raucous home crowds for each of them - very different matchups, however. In the Copa Femenina, you have Brazil and Colombia. And Colombia has never beaten Brazil - 0-8-1. And - but yet, Brazil was just the dominant, dominant team there. The legendary name, the whole thing - it's going to be a great opportunity again for them to show their dominance and for Colombia in some way to sort of break through.

And on the other hand, it's the opposite. Everybody in England has been waiting...

SIMON: Yeah.

BRYANT: ...For the men or the women to win a championship. And the national team hasn't happened since 1966 in the World Cup when England beat West Germany, 4-2. And so you've had really close calls so far with England. They lost to the Netherlands in - you know, in the last - in 2019. And so, I mean, here you go. This is it for them. They're home. They're the favorites. They've come through. They had a tough one against Spain. And then they beat Sweden in the semifinal. And this is it for them. It's going to be a tough matchup. Both teams are playing great. They're playing Germany. Neither one has given up much - and so - one goal apiece, actually. And so this is going to be this it. This is their moment. So we'll see if England can sort of end the wait or if Brazil maintains their dominance.

SIMON: Major League Baseball's trade deadline is Tuesday. Teams try to improve themselves. Juan...

BRYANT: I don't know. Scott, you know what? I was thinking about you when I was thinking about the trade deadline because...

SIMON: Yes.

BRYANT: ...You know, that - the last time you were negotiating with NPR and you turned down that 15-year, $400 million contract they offered you, just like Juan...

SIMON: I was insulted. I was insulted, Howard.

BRYANT: (Laughter).

SIMON: Yes. Juan Soto turned down out $440 million. His agent said he's worth $500 million, which, of course, would put about, like, 50 million in the pocket of the agent. What are you looking for?

BRYANT: Well, I think that's the big thing. I mean, Juan Soto was a generational talent - already won the World Series with the Nationals in 2019. And you're looking at enormous dollars. Now obviously, there's only one way you would turn down a $400 million contract. And that's - you know that there's $401+ million waiting for you somewhere else. And obviously, the New York Yankees would love to have Soto - the Dodgers. Some of these teams would actually be willing to shell out that kind of money - or the Padres or whomever. Or maybe they just trade him, and he goes into free agency. Who knows?

But the Nationals are going to make another offer, if they haven't already. And then they, you know, essentially said that if he doesn't accept that, then on the August 2 trade deadline, they're going to move him. So if things go south with Juan Soto and the Nationals, then you know that things are going to really shake up because somebody is going to get one of the best players in the league for the stretch run.

SIMON: And finally, Brittney Griner - still in Russia undergoing trial, but the U.S. government has offered a deal to receive her and Paul Whelan back in exchange for - and - well, there might be more to the deal than we thought at first.

BRYANT: Well, there might be more to it. And now there - the negotiations are taking place, at least - at the very least, you know there are negotiations taking place. I'm not quite sure how it's going to play out because we're still waiting for her sentencing - the end of the trial coming up next week on August 5. So it appears that the schedule is going to be to find out first what happens with her trial, when that ends. And then we'll see what the United States and Russia end up negotiating. But we're getting close to some kind of resolution here.

SIMON: Howard Bryant of Meadowlark Media, thanks so much. Talk to you soon.

BRYANT: Thank you, Scott.

(SOUNDBITE OF VULFPECK'S "SMILE MEDITATION") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.