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Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto turned down a 13-year, $350 million contract offer before the MLB lockout. He explained his thinking:
$350 million is a lot to turn down, but the Nationals star knows what he’s doing in this scenario. Soto is repped by Scott Boras, and is three years away from free agency. There’s a reason the Nationals are offering him a high figure now — it’s because they assume that number will only increase in the years to come.
When asked how he could turn down $350 million in the first place rather than sign the deal in front of him, Soto played it cool, stating that he was working from the advice of Boras, who is his agent for a reason.
“My agents and I think the best option is to go year after year and wait for free agency,” Soto told ESPN on Wednesday. “My agent, Scott Boras, is in control of that situation.”
Juan Soto contract: How much money will he make?
Soto could very well be baseball’s first $500 million man, in similar fashion to the NFL and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The 23-year-old Soto is expected to hit free agency at 26. By then, he could very well be in line for the richest contract in baseball history. For now, that honor goes to Mike Trout, who signed a $426.5 million deal in 2019. New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer has the highest AAV in the sport, as he signed a three-year deal worth $130 million this offseason.
“Juan Soto wants to win,” Boras said in November. “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.”
For now, the Nationals aren’t expected to content in a crowded NL East. That could play an important role in Soto’s eventual decision to re-up in Washington D.C., or pursue the free agent waters.