The proposal was made before the work stoppage, but was intended for this season. It did not include deferred money. Had it been finalized, Soto would have earned an average salary of nearly $27 million through 2034, when he will turn 36.
“Yes, they made me an offer a few months ago, before the lockout,” Soto said. “But right now, my agents and I think the best option is to go year by year and wait for free agency. My agent, Scott Boras, has control over the situation.”
When will Juan Soto become a free agent?
Soto, 23, has been one of the best hitters in baseball since debuting as a teenager in 2018, bat .301 with an .981 OPS in four seasons. He helped the Nationals win the World Series in 2019 and finished runner-up in NL MVP voting last season.
The outfielder will be eligible for any team in free agency after the 2024 season.
Anyway, I still think of Washington as the place where I would like to spend the rest of my career, so we will see,
The Nationals‘ offer would have been the third-highest contract extension in MLB history, surpassed only by the $365 million over 12 years deal Mookie Betts received in 2020 from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the $360 million over 10 years given to Mike Trout by the Los Angeles Angels in 2019.
“My agents and I think the best option is to go year after year and wait for free agency,” Soto told ESPN on Wednesday. “My agent, Scott Boras, is in control of that situation,”
The possible extension for Soto has been a recurring issue in recent years. Especially after the San Diego Padres signed shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to a 14-year, $330 million extension in February 2021.
In the 2020 season, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, he led the majors in batting, OBP and OPS. Last season, he had a .313 batting average and drew 145 walks, while hitting 29 home runs with 95 RBIs.
The Nationals finished last in the NL East in 2021.