Washington Nationals’ superstar right fielder Juan Soto made waves in the baseball world when he turned down a new contract offer.
The Nationals sought to give Soto a 15-year, $440 million extension that would have made the 23-year-old the highest-paid player in MLB.
This move stunned many as the mind boggling number seemed too good to turn down.
Nationals tried to lock up Juan Soto for 15 YEARS and he said nope pic.twitter.com/UjnUvKubPB
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 16, 2022
However, is there sound reasoning behind Soto’s decision?
Here are three reasons the star was right to reject the offer.
3. Low Annual Average For Soto
$440 million guaranteed is nothing to balk at, especially when it would be the third-highest paying contract in sports history.
However, that high price tag came with a staggering 15-year commitment.
If you do the math, that comes out to just $29 million a year, a number that is a little low by modern contract standards.
.@JuanSoto25_ appreciation post.
He hit 2 homers on the day and 4 in his last 5 games! pic.twitter.com/85nO12qvj4
— MLB (@MLB) July 14, 2022
Look at Max Scherzer for example.
Last winter, the New York Mets signed him to a three-year, $130 million contract with a $43.3 million annual average.
While it is over a short period of time, that dwarfs the number offered to Soto.
With a number like $43.3 million in mind, Soto knows he can net a similar yearly value if he enters the open market.
Because of this, he will likely bet on himself to put together multiple contracts at a high yearly value rather than relying on a single, hyper long-term contract.
On top of this, it has been reported that the contract was very end-loaded.
This means that the final years of the contract would see large increases in yearly salary, ultimately decreasing the surface value of the deal.
If he had taken it, Soto would have received a fraction of the money he is worth early in the contract.
These reasons together were a big deciding factor in rejecting the deal.
2. 15 Years With The Nationals
While the yearly value is low, there is another reason that a 15-year contract may be questionable.
It is solely with the Nationals.
They are not in a very good position to win any time soon.
The Nationals would be keeping Soto to enter a rebuilding period with him, and there is little telling how long that would take.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) July 17, 2022
Would Soto want to wait 5-6 years until the Nationals are good enough to make it to the playoffs?
Likely not, knowing Soto’s tendency for big moments.
Because of this, he is looking at 15 years with the Nationals as locking him out of the playoffs.
At 23 years old, this is enough to make a contract like this seem unappealing.
1. Soto Is Good Enough To Earn More
Juan Soto is good.
Actually, he is more than good.
He is arguably the best hitter we have seen in Major League Baseball since Barry Bonds.
— MLB (@MLB) July 17, 2022
While the start of this season was rough, he has picked it up in recent weeks.
In the last 14 days, the lefty is hitting .441 with four home runs and a staggering .604 on-base percentage.
This is much closer to the Soto that fans have become used to.
In 2021 he hit .313 with a .999 OPS and 29 home runs.
This backed up the COVID-shortened 2020 season which was even better, where he hit .351 and a 1.185 OPS.
Oh, and don’t forget that he is already a World Series champion.
This is a long resumé for someone who is just 23-years-old.
Juan Soto is heating up (158 OPS+ is close to 160 career mark)
One hard-to-believe fact: Soto is exactly 3 weeks younger than heralded rookie Oneil Cruz
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 14, 2022
He is a blend of discipline and power that is truly special to find in MLB.
Not only this, but he is the type of hitter that will likely age extremely well, continuing to be dominant even as he gets older.
With all of this in mind, it is no surprise that Soto is bidding on himself.
With how good he is, Soto has the opportunity to make a lot of money in baseball.
Because of this, he rejected the Nationals record-setting offer.