Washington Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto made news on Wednesday after it was revealed by ESPN reporters Enrique Rojas and Jeff Passan that he rejected a contract extension worth $350 million before the lockout.
The baseball world is divided into two sides: there are people who think he, at 23 years old, should have taken the money and officially set himself (and his family) up for life.
However, there is another thought: he may be worth much more than that.
At the moment, Soto has three arbitration seasons remaining after collecting his first considerable paycheck last year as a Super Two player ($8.5 million).
He is projected to make $16.2 million in 2022, his second arbitration season out of four.
God only knows how much he will make in 2023 and 2024 if he keeps taking the arbitration route, but it will be significantly more than $20 million each season.
Will He Become MLB’s First $500-Million Man?
If he reaches free agency and remains a healthy, productive player like he has for years, he may have a shot at becoming MLB’s first $500-million player.
Here is what Passan had to say about that: “The notion of Juan Soto receiving the first $500 million contract in American professional team sports is not far-fetched. He’ll be 26 (when he enters free agency). There’s already a $43 million-a-year player in his former teammate, Max Scherzer. If he stays healthy and productive, it’s very realistic.”
The notion of Juan Soto receiving the first $500 million contract in American professional team sports is not far-fetched. He'll be 26. There's already a $43 million-a-year player in his former teammate, Max Scherzer. If he stays healthy and productive, it's very realistic.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 16, 2022
As usual, Passan has a very good point.
It will be hard for Soto and his camp to pass up on future extensions offers if they get over $400 million (it’s secure money and covers him in case of severe injury and other potential things that could happen), but if he does, he has a big shot at signing a $500 million deal.
Will he go year-to-year until reaching free agency?
Or will he take a better extension offer from the Nats, should he receive it?
We will find out eventually.NEXT: Juan Soto Reportedly Turned Down A Massive Contract Offer