Washington Nationals star Juan Soto expressed his dismay on Saturday, hours after it was reported he had rejected a record contract with the Reconstruction Club.
The Athletic, citing unidentified sources, reported that Soto had turned down a $440 million 15-year offer to stay with the Nationals that would have been the most lucrative in baseball history. Los Angeles Angels player Mike Trout signed a 12-year deal worth $426.5 million in 2019.
The Nationals said last month that they would not trade the 23-year-old Soto. But speculation about getting a Soto deal was certainly inflated after this report of his rejection of a long-term deal.
Soto is a two-time All-Star who finished second in the NL MVP vote last season. He will not be a free agent until after the 2024 season.
“It feels really bad to see things like this because I’m a guy who, by my side, keeps everything quiet and tries to keep calm for me and them,” Soto said before the Nationals played for Atlanta. “They just make the decision and do what they need to.”
Soto referred questions regarding his contract to his agent Scott Borras.
Soto was a key part of the Washington Championship squad in 2019 and turned 21 during the World Championships. He won the Premier League batting title in 2020, and led the league on a percentage basis in 2020 and 2021 en route to Silver Slugger Awards in both seasons.
He hits .249 with 19 wrecks and 42 RBI this season and will play in the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Soto reached the base in 24 consecutive high-profile matches entered on Saturday.
The national team that finished last started the day in the Major League – worst 30-62, a staggering 27 games behind NL East leaders Mets. Washington played 14 and a half games behind fourth-placed Miami.
“He’s young,” said Washington director Dave Martinez. “I’m sure when things like that come out that are personal, it annoys people. I’m sure that annoys him a lot. But like I said, he has to understand that this is part of the game, right? We’ve all been through it at some point. But he has to To get out there and remember why he’s here, to help us win games and I know he will.”
Soto is the most famous player on the team that embarked on rebuilding last year. The Lerner family, which owns the Nationals, is also exploring the possibility of selling the team.
Since last year’s trade deadline, when Washington dealt with Max Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber, Tria Turner and others, the Nationals have been 48-104.
“I get a taste of winning, so I want to win every year,” Soto said. “I don’t want to keep losing. I hate losing. That is what it is. At the end of the day we just have to go through it, because like they told me, we all have to go through those moments to win the championship. For me, I think I pass mine. I will stay Positively and I will continue to see things forward.”
Martinez, Soto’s manager since arriving in the majors aged 19 in 2018, said he plans to tell Soto to continue behaving himself.
“He told me all the time he loves baseball and that’s what he plays for,” Martinez said. “Go out there and just play and have fun and don’t worry about what’s going to happen. I mean, at the end of the day, you’ll get what you deserve, we all know that. And for me, I hope he’s here.”
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