Juan Soto has established himself as one of the best pure hitters in the game, and it appears he wants something more than money in his MLB career.
The Washington Nationals dangled a 15-year, $440 million offer to the Dominican outfielder, but Soto rejected it, The Athletic reported, citing unnamed sources. International Business Times could not independently verify this information.
The Nationals will entertain trade offers for Soto after the outfielder rejected their most recent long-term offer, unnamed league sources told ESPN Saturday.
Had he accepted the extension, the 23-year-old would have become the highest-paid player in baseball history. The deal would have also meant that Soto would receive an average annual salary of $29.33 million, the 20th highest in baseball history.
The biggest guarantees so far in Nationals history are $245 million for Stephen Strasburg and $210 million for Max Scherzer.
The offer Soto reportedly received from the Nationals also surpassed in total dollars the 12-year, $426.5 million contract Mike Trout signed with the Los Angeles Angels in March 2019.
Last month, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said that they were not interested in trading Soto.
“We are not trading Juan Soto. We’ve made it clear to his agent and to the player,” Rizzo said during an appearance on the “Sports Junkies” radio show. “…We have every intention of building this team around Juan Soto. We’ve spoken to his agent many, many times — recently sat with him when he was in Washington, D.C., made it clear to him that we are not interested in trading him, and I guess the rest of the world just doesn’t believe it. But that’s our position.”
The future of Soto could get more clarity soon with the Aug. 2 trade deadline approaching. There is no telling if Soto could get a better offer from other MLB teams.
Soto and his representatives could be eyeing free agency to land a contract of more than $500 million, according to The Athletic. The Dominican is on track to become a free agent just ahead of his age-26 season.
When asked last year what it would take for Soto to sign a long-term extension, his agent Scott Boras told The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty that his client “wants to win.”
“So the first thing that’s gonna have to happen is that he knows that he’s working with an ownership that’s gonna annually try to compete and win. And then I think once he knows that, then he’ll be ready to sit down and talk whenever they choose to talk,” Boras said.
Soto still has two more seasons remaining in his contract with the Nationals, and the team knows that there will be other MLB teams likely inquiring.
As things stand now, there are different trade scenarios to consider. But in the end, Rizzo and the Nationals are likely to want a huge return from MLB teams aiming to get Juan Soto to their side.