Juan Soto is available.
The All-Star outfielder, who could become the highest-paid player in baseball history, recently turned down an offer from the Washington Nationals, and the team now plans to entertain trade offers for him, with the Earthquakes developing Aug. 2. .
The 23-year-old Soto rejected a 15-year, $440 million offer, sources said. The Nationals’ third proposal in recent months did not include any deferred funds, a departure from the team’s usual practice. The two biggest guarantees in club history, $245 million for right-hander Stephen Strasburg and $210 million for righty Max Scherzer, involved significant delays, making today’s deal worth less.
The Nationals’ offer surpasses the 12-year, $426.5 million contract Mike Trout signed with the Angels in March 2019 by a total of $1,000,000. His 24 to 38 season made him a National for the rest of his career.
Soto agent Scott Boras, however, generally prefers that his clients set their values on the market. Soto is on track to become a free agent when he turns 26 and will likely demand a deal in excess of $500 million. Boras was not immediately available for comment.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo spoke to Washington, D.C. radio station 106.7 The Fan on June 1. The team did not trade Soto before it ends. Instead, Rizzo said, the team wanted to make Soto the centerpiece of its rebuilding plan.
“We’re not trading Juan Soto,” Rizzo said. “We made it clear to the agent (Boras) and the player. We aim to build this team in the Juan Soto area.
Soto’s rejection of the $440 million, however, changed the math, leading club officials to believe that if they couldn’t sign for that amount, they never would. The citizens consider Soto’s pursuit of trade a worthy endeavor. He is under control of the rest of the club this season and then two more. If the team doesn’t get the offer it needs, it doesn’t need to trade him right away.
Soto, who is hitting .247 with 19 homers and an .895 OPS, is performing below his usual level, but he has been hot in July.
Any team that gets him will control him for three pennant races. After expiration, that number will be reduced to two, reducing its future trade value. Soto, earning $17.1 million, could receive a significant increase in salary arbitration over the final two years.
The sale of the Nationals, owned by the Lerner family since 2006, is another factor the team has for Soto. When the Lerners considered selling the team, they wanted to make their position with Soto clear to potential buyers. Soto is an asset, but if the contract is too big, it will make it difficult for the citizens to build around it.
(Photo: Jonathan Newton/Washington Post via Getty Images)