Juan Soto rejected a contract extension from the Washington Nationals in hopes of cashing in bigger down the road.
There are few outfielders, let alone players in baseball, who are more talented than Juan Soto. As Bryce Harper’s successor in the nation’s capital, he has more than filled the big shoes left behind as the former departed for Philadelphia prior to the 2019 season.
Soto doesn’t just want us to talk about his rise to stardom, though. He wants to be paid like one, too.
According to ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan, it’s not out of the question for Soto to get what he’s asking for, which could be in excess of $500 million. A contract of that magnitude has never been seen in American sports before.
Juan Soto could easily be MLB’s first $500 million man
If there’s a player who could receive that type of megadeal, Soto fits that profile. For his career, he’s been an elite hitter, with a .981 OPS and 160 OPS+ in four seasons. Just in 2021 alone, he had a .999 OPS and a 175 OPS+. Those numbers are clearly superstar-caliber and worth every penny of $500 million.
The other factor working in Soto’s favor here is his age. At just 23 years old, the outfielder hasn’t even hit his prime yet, which is downright scary given how good he is at his current age. One can only imagine how much better he could get as he starts hitting his prime.
Believe it or not, Soto has only made one All-Star team in his career to date, and has not won MVP yet, though there’s a good chance one is in his future. Accolades like these shouldn’t take away from his case to cash in, though, since the talent is evident.
The Washington Nationals tried to give Soto $350 million over 13 years, good for an average annual value of $26.5 million per season. That doesn’t even include deferrals, which lessen the present worth of the contract. That seems like a lowball offer for Soto, who has put himself firmly in Mike Trout and Fernando Tatis Jr. territory (two superstars who recently got paid handsomely). Therefore, it’s not surprising that he rejected that offer.
Overall, given his young age and immense talent, Soto is deserving of being a $500 million man. A contract offer of 13-15 years at $500 million would probably get the job done, so the Nationals have work to do if they’d like to keep their young star in tow.