Despite being one of the brightest young stars in the league, I have not heard much about a Juan Soto contract extension with the Nationals. His 2020 salary was only $629,400 which is common for players who have yet to hit arbitration. Could Mookie Betts recent extension with the Dodgers be a benchmark for when Soto extension talks come to life?
When Washington GM Mike Rizzo signed 16 year old Juan Soto, he said he saw something special. The Nationals signed Soto for $1.5 million which was the most they have ever spent in the international market at the time of his signing. Soto has certainly had early success in the big leagues posting a .295/.415/.557 slash line in his first three seasons. He already has a world series ring under his belt and a National League batting title. Did I forget to mention he is only going to be 22 years old in 2021? Soto will be coming up for free agency when he is about 25-26 years old and he is going to get paid, bigtime.
Mike Rizzo was quoted after being asked if he would just give Soto 10 years and $180 million. “We would give him 10 years, $180 million tomorrow morning for sure, but I don’t think he’s going to accept that.” He is right. Soto would be foolish to accept that deal. He has a chance to make Mookie Betts and Mike Trout money. Betts signed a 12 year, $365 million extension with Los Angeles including a $65 million signing bonus back before the 2020 season. That is the second highest contract in MLB history only behind Mike Trout. I think Soto should easily be getting talked about in the 12 or 13 year range for $350-$400 million. Will the Nationals wait until he is coming up for free agency or will they get something done earlier and possibly a little cheaper?