Washington Nationals fans were left holding their collective breaths yesterday at the news that the team was ramping up extension talks with superstar Juan Soto.
MLB Insider Héctor Gómez reported that the Nats were offering Soto a 13-year extension worth a whopping $425 million. This is a massive increase from their original $350 million offer.
Unfortunately, it turns out the offer is incorrect.
“Am told the report the Nationals offered Juan Soto 13 years, $425 million is inaccurate”, The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli tweeted earlier today. “Also important to note the Lerner family is exploring a sale of the team, making the timing of any negotiations -and there’s no evidence there’s anything active- curious, to say the least.”
Ghiroli wasn’t the only reporter to refute the rumor.
“Have spoken with multiple people about the report on a latest offer to Juan Soto”, The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty tweeted out. “What I’ve gathered: The team has made efforts to sign him beyond its 13-year, $350 million offer last fall, including at least one additional offer. Can’t confirm any figures yet. Additionally: Multiple people tell me the reported figures of 13 years and $425 million are inaccurate.”
Despite the exact number being refuted, Gómez is still onto something. It is true the Nats had reignited extension talks and put a second offer on the table — somewhere north of the originally offered $350 million, but less than Mike Trout’s record-breaking $426 million.
The exact amount has yet to be revealed and while it is sad to see Soto has yet to agree to a deal, it seems talks are going in the right direction. It is a great sign to see ownership attempt to make Soto a National for life — especially after letting both Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon (this seems to be a smart decision on the latter) walk and trading Trea Turner.
Some might be surprised that Soto has turned down an even high offer after how much he’s struggled this season. He’s been putting too much pressure on himself and has been expanding the strike zone. As a result, he’s hitting .224, with 14 homers, 32 RBIs, and an OPS of .812, while drawing 63 walks. But just a year ago he finished second in NL MVP voting and won his first batting title in 2020.
Over his five seasons in the nation’s capital, Soto is hitting .290, with 112 homers, 344 RBIs, and an OPS of .957. Last year, Soto took his game to another level, slashing .313/.465/.534, with 29 homers, 95 RBIs, and an OPS of .999.
One thing to keep an eye on throughout extension talks is the Lerner family’s ongoing process to sell the team. Will potential buyers want another massive contract on the books? Seeing how Soto is a top 10 player in MLB, the answer should be yes.
It seems contract talks are still ongoing, but for how much longer is unclear.