When news broke yesterday of a confidential offer that Juan Soto turned down at $440 million for 15 years, Soto made it clear he was not happy that the news was made public. Those terms were leaked by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic through his sources. The offer was the largest ever made in baseball history and exceeded Mike Trout‘s deal of $426 million.
“It feels really bad to see stuff going out like that because I’m a guy who keeps everything on my side. I keep everything quiet,” Soto said to reporters on Saturday afternoon (video below).
We were told by an outside source that it was leaked by someone in the front office. While social media blew up, for hours, and the vitriol spilled over like spoiled milk, fingers were being pointed at Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, at Soto, at the Lerner ownership group, and at general manager Mike Rizzo. Of course, someone(s) needed to be blamed. Some said the annual money was not enough, but just three years ago Boras did a deal that basically ran to age 38 for Bryce Harper at just over $25 million a year. This offer to Soto is nearly 20% more, and that’s a lot. Harper had MVP on his resumé too.
On October 11 of last year, I wrote the first piece of the Nats’ off-season in which I laid out Priority №1 for the team was to get Soto signed to a long-term deal, and I justified how to get him to $430 million for 15 years with basically $36 million a year during the prime years, and two mutual or vesting options at $35 million each to get the contract to $500 million. Okay, I was light by $10 million as the Lerners went to $440 million for 15 years. And Soto still turned it down according to Rosenthal’s report. That would pay Soto into his age-38 season. That’s crazy money for a position player who has been putting up some of the worst defensive numbers in baseball this year — but is also one of the best hitters in baseball in his career.
In Spring Training, we learned from Rizzo that the Nats did make an offer to Soto before the MLB lock-out. That was the $350 million offer for 13 years with no deferrals. It was great to see Rizzo call a Soto extension the №1 priority, and through sources we spoke to we were hopeful this would get done.
“We made an offer and all of a sudden the lockout happened, and we didn’t have much dialogue after that, but our side has plans to pick it up very soon. He’s our №1 priority,” Rizzo said in March.
People throw around the labels of “greatest ever” and while Mike Trout certainly holds that title for the past decade, Soto could be a better hitter. Maybe he doesn’t deserve more money than Trout who already has three MVP trophies, but baseball rewards those who are next up, and Soto is that guy. Yankees’ fans would say Aaron Judge is that guy. He just tied Roger Maris for 33 home runs before the All-Star break. Judge was offered almost half of what the Nats just offered Soto. Yes, $230 million according to this ESPN report, and Judge is the frontrunner to this year’s AL MVP if Shohei Ohtani doesn’t win it. Oh, that’s right, Ohtani is set to be a free agent before Soto! I guess the Yankees and Angels owners are cheap too….
If Juan Soto is turning down $440 million, then some team is gonna have to make Shohei Ohtani part owner to sign him.
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) July 16, 2022
So if you don’t sleep at all, you know that Hector Gomez tweeted a little while ago that the Nats will make one more offer to Soto. Maybe they felt bad that this became public, and this is throwing him a lifeline.
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) July 17, 2022
As of now, it is nearly 2 am in the eastern time zone as I am writing this piece, and too early/late to contact any sources — but I will double down again on Hector Gomez’s reporting that I trust what he says, and I’m sure he’s accurate here on another offer. As far as trading Soto if he rejects another offer, we will see. Who knows. We will see where this goes. By the way, in about sixteen hours the Nationals have the 5th pick in the draft. Can I go to sleep now?