Washington Nationals’ 13-year, $350 million offer to Juan Soto needs to be the starting point, not a final offer…


Make that two days in a row with pretty vital information regarding the Washington Nationals! In a lockout, that’s like gold mud for us to jot down about.

On Wednesday afternoon, Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported that the Nationals provided Juan Soto a monster 13-year, $350 million extension simply earlier than Main League Baseball’s lockout started initially of December.

An attention-grabbing nugget included within the report was that the contract supply to Soto “didn’t embrace deferred cash,” in accordance with Rojas, one thing the Nationals have tended to do of their bigger contract affords.

“Sure, they made me a suggestion just a few months in the past, earlier than the lockout,” Soto advised Rojas. “However proper now, my brokers and I believe the best choice is to go 12 months by 12 months and wait without spending a dime company. My agent, Scott Boras, has management over the state of affairs.”

It shouldn’t be a shock to anybody that Soto, a participant some have dubbed as somebody who could possibly be baseball’s first $500 million man, turned down the supply — and on the similar time, astounding that he’s put himself ready to confidently flip down that form of cash.

That doesn’t imply he’s fully towards signing an extension with the Nationals although.

“I nonetheless consider Washington because the place the place I want to spend the remainder of my profession, so we’ll see,” Soto additionally defined to Rojas within the ESPN report.

Nonetheless, the earlier supply is approach wanting the place it must be to make {that a} actuality.

Even whenever you consider the actual fact the supply covers his three remaining arbitration seasons, the $26.9 common annual worth of the contract falls approach wanting comparable contracts.

If we assume that the three arbitration seasons had been valued at roughly $16 million, $20 million, and $24 million — there have been no stories on the precise construction, that is an informed guess —that leaves 10 extra years price $29 million every to attempt to persuade Soto to forgo free company and re-sign with the Nationals.

The $29 million AAV of that hypothetical state of affairs would rank ninth within the majors amongst place gamers behind Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Francisco Lindor, Nolan Arenado, Corey Seager, Miguel Cabrera, Mookie Betts, and Manny Machado.

From an AAV perspective, Soto has a case to exceed the seven non-Trout gamers in that listing, and perhaps even a case to exceed Trout’s AAV, however that could be a barely more durable promote.

So on the a part of the contract that might exchange no matter contract Soto would get on the free-agent market, the Nationals would wish to extend the AAV by roughly $6-7 million to get to the $35 million vary that Boras and the remainder of Soto’s camp can be on the lookout for.

If the 13-year, $350 million supply was one of many group’s opening gambits, then it doesn’t look like an insurmountable hole to barter and discover widespread floor. Particularly because the supply didn’t include deferred cash which has been a sticking level with different gamers.

The fear for Nats followers is that this supply was basically a last supply to Soto, no less than this offseason.

Over the past decade, the Nationals have seen loads of homegrown place gamers get an identical remedy to the one Soto is getting proper now. Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, and Trea Turner are arguably essentially the most noteworthy examples.

Desmond obtained a seven-year, $107 million extension supply from the Nationals two years away from free company that, on the time, appeared fairly low as he was coming off of three-straight Silver Slugger seasons at shortstop. There have been no different reported affords after that.

For Harper, the Nationals gave him a ten-year, $300 million supply with deferrals within the last days of 2018. Harper and Boras noticed it as a superb place to begin, however the Nationals indicated it was their last supply earlier than free company began. They made one other lesser supply throughout Harper’s free company, nevertheless it by no means matched the AAV or complete worth of that earlier supply.

Very like Harper, Rendon additionally obtained an extension supply within the last month of his contract 12 months to the tune of $210 million over seven years. But once more although, there have been no stories of the Nationals ever topping that provide earlier than the third baseman left for Los Angeles.

Lastly, with Turner, the final supply Nationals reportedly made him was a six-year, $100 million extension three seasons out from testing free company throughout Spring Coaching in 2020.

The entire above affords had been seen as approach beneath market worth on the time they had been provided. The Nats by no means budged from their affords although, letting three of them (Desmond, Harper, and Rendon) stroll in free company and buying and selling the latter (Turner) to kickstart a rebuild this previous season.

No matter how they ended up figuring out or are figuring out now, the sample of how the Nationals have typically approached extension talks is price making an allowance for for Soto.

By the point the group’s supply leads to the general public area through leaks to reporters, the full contract worth hasn’t ever actually elevated after that, no less than in these 4 key examples.

If the Nationals have simply carried out the identical with Soto and don’t plan to come back again to the desk with an improved supply, then it doesn’t bode properly for his or her probabilities to lock down their star proper fielder long-term now or shifting ahead.

The distinction could be that Soto seems to be a baseball unicorn even in comparison with these stars.

He’s already thought-about one among, if not the very best, hitters in baseball on the tender age of 23. His recreation is predicated round unfathomable plate self-discipline and a piece ethic off the sphere that ought to translate to a protracted and productive profession that shouldn’t fall off a cliff as different gamers would possibly.

If the Nationals are ever going to shift course from their standard tactic in extension negotiations, Soto can be precisely the kind of participant that they need to do it for.

With the lockout nonetheless in impact, they’ll’t resume any potential extension talks till it’s over, so we aren’t prone to discover out quickly whether or not that provide was simply the primary transfer or whether or not they had been drawing their line within the sand.

Nonetheless, primarily based on how the group has dealt with earlier extension discussions with former gamers, the indicators may very well level to the latter which hinders the probabilities of a deal…

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