Nationals To Entertain Trade Offers For Juan Soto After He Rejects $440MM Offer

In a somewhat shocking development, the Washington Nationals will now listen to trade offers for transcendent superstar Juan Soto, by the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Soto reportedly rejected a $440MM extension offer, prompting the change of heart o the Nationals’ part.

The Nationals have long held the position that they would not be open to trading Soto, their 23-year-old superstar, who is already firmly listed among the best hitters in baseball. The Nationals have some time to make a decision, as Soto is under team control for another two seasons beyond this one. As of right now, however, the team is among the worst in baseball, and their farm system continues to be understocked.

All that said, the Nats have made consistent efforts to come to a contract extension with Soto’s agent Scott Boras, with no success. According to Rosenthal, the latest such offer – the third offer from the Nationals’ side – was for 15 years and a total of $440MM. Perhaps more shocking than the number itself is that the Nats did not include any deferred money in the deal. The Nationals are well known for deferring money in most of their long-term deals. That they were willing to avoid that practice shows some bend on the Nats’ part, but it was not enough to consume a deal.

If those numbers are correct, the Nats’ offer would have given Soto an AAV of $29.33MM over that 15-year span, which falls a little shy of some of the game’s top contracts. While that’s nothing to scoff at, it would not be a record-setting number. The total dollar amount would, however, top MLB’s largest contracts.

The deal would have carried Soto through to his 38th birthday, effectively locking him in as a National for the entirety of his career. It’s certainly a large chunk of money to offer, but Soto might not be so ready to put a cap on his career earnings – even such a lofty one.

With their latest offer rejected, the Nats will now spend the next couple of weeks listening to trade offers for Soto ahead of the August 2nd trade deadline. Certainly, given the team control remaining, the Nationals would have to be floored by an offer in order to move him. The likelihood of a deal at this junction still feels slim. An offseason deal would probably be more likely. Still, interested parties now have a couple of weeks to begin making headway.

It’s difficult to fathom what exactly it would take to pry Soto loose from the Nationals. No matter what the return package, it’s sure to seem light in the eyes of local fans. Soto is the lone superstar and fan attraction at this point. The club has seen the departure of organizational mainstays like Max Scherzer, Trea Turnerand Ryan Zimmerman in the past calendar year alone. Without Soto, the club would be starting from scratch, especially given the state of the farm system. A player of Soto’s stature does not come along frequently, and it’s unlikely they could recoup anywhere close to equal value for Soto.

For the Nationals to deal him, they have to really believe they have no chance of signing him to a long-term contract extension. Perhaps this latest rejection makes that point for them. From the outside, there are certainly ways in which the Nats could improve their offer, namely with a larger AAV, which does seem to be something that matters to players.

More to come…


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