The Washington Nationals, heavily criticized for years for letting go of star-level talent in the past few years and supposedly saving for a hypothetical Juan Soto extension, finally tried to make something happen on that front.
It was revealed on Wednesday that the Nats offered a 13-year, $350 million extension to Soto, which he rejected before the lockout.
While $350 million is certainly nothing to sneeze at, and it’s not an insulting offer by any means, every person who has followed Soto’s career and is familiarized with his achievements, age, current level, and projection, knows that number is insufficient.
MLB analyst Grant Paulsen certainly thinks that way.
1 – I'm glad the Nats are trying.
2 – This is not close. Serious offers should start at $400M. https://t.co/8yK81e4XN5
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) February 16, 2022
Soto Won’t Sign For Less Than $400 Million
First, it should be mentioned that the fact the Nats are trying to retain their star and build around him is pretty significant: the team is actually making an effort, and it surely won’t be the last offer.
But the second part of his tweet is the most important one: it’s not close to what the player is worth and wants.
Yes, he is not a free agent, but there are no seasons of pre-arbitration (league minimum) left for the Nats to buy, and he is already projected to make $16.2 million in his second arbitration year out of four.
That means he will make more than $20 million in 2023 and something close to $30 million in 2024.
He is not cheap anymore: those days are over.
If the Nationals want to get Soto’s attention, the bidding should start at $400 million.
He has a World Series title and a career .301/.432/.550 line at 23 years old, and always performs at an MVP level.
His best years are ahead of him, so a mammoth contract is in order.