The Washington Nationals laid out a contract to their star outfielder that would have paid him a mind-numbing $440 million over the course of 15 years. That nets out at over $29 million per season and with MLB contracts being fully guaranteed, Soto would have been paid that sum regardless of how he plays for the rest of his career.
It seems at this point that Soto basically doesn’t want to be in DC anymore. He has already turned down an offer of $350 million over 13 years per an ESPN story before the offseason lockout. That contract had slightly less yearly value (just under $27 million per year) than the massive contract Soto walked away from prior to this weekend – Something that could really hurt the Nationals MLB Vegas odds going forward.
It is hard to see what Washington can do to get Soto to commit his future to their cause. He will become a free agent at the close of the 2024 season and the rumors are swirling that this latest setback to their contract aspirations means they are unlikely to get anything done long-term before he is out of contract and available to all teams.
As wild as that $29 million per year is, there is a theory that Soto hasn’t signed it because its yearly net isn’t what he is looking for. The 23-year-old would become the 15th highest paid player in the league – based on published salaries for 2022 – and he is looking to crack into the top 10 given his youth and production.
The other issue is that the Nats just aren’t very good. They are 30-62 this season and they have imploded since winning the 2019 World Series. They are almost 15 games out of first place in the National League East – dead last in the division – and unless there is an epic turnaround post-All-Star break then they are on track for a third straight losing season.
Soto is struggling along with the franchise. His hitting just .247 in 2022 and he cuts a frustrated figure in the dugout and on the diamond. A trade seems unlikely, but the value the Nats would get for Soto would help them freshen up the team – and farm system – with players ready to pitch in with a potentially lengthy rebuild.
Watch this space on this one.
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