Washington Nationals to accept trade offers for Juan Soto after star turns down 15-year, $440million extension
Juan Soto has rejected a 15-year, $440million extension from the Washington Nationals, who now plan on listening to trade offers for the star outfielder, according to reports.
The deal would have made the 23-year-old the highest-paid player in Major League Baseball history, surpassing Mike Trout's 12-year, $426.5m contract with the Los Angeles Angels.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Nationals will now look to entertain trade offers for Soto ahead of the August 2 deadline.
Soto is making $17m this year and will not be an unrestricted free agent until after the 2024 season, so the Nationals have him under control until then.
General manager Mike Rizzo told a Washington D.C. radio station last month that the team had no plans to trade Soto, but the mood appears to have now changed.
"We are not trading Juan Soto," Rizzo said in early June. "We made it clear to his agent [Scott Boras] and to the player… We have every intention of building this team around Juan Soto."
Boras spoke about Soto's future at MLB's general managers meetings in November.
"Juan Soto wants to win," Boras said. "So the first thing that's going to have to happen is that he knows that he's working with an ownership that's going to annually try to compete and win.
"And then I think once he knows that, then he'll be ready to sit down and talk whenever they choose to talk."
The Nationals are struggling again this season, entering Saturday with the worst record in the majors at 30-62.
That comes on the heels of Washington's last-place finish in the National League East last season (65-97) and a 26-34 record in the 2020 pandemic-shortened season after the franchise won its first World Series title in 2019.
Soto is also having a bit of a down season despite recently being named an All-Star for the second time in his career, hitting .247 with 19 homers and 42 RBIs in 89 games after entering the season with a career batting average of .301.