Washington Nationals star Juan Soto and agent Scott Boras reportedly have high expectations for the outfielder's next contract.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Boras asked the Nationals for a deal with an average annual salary comparable to the $43.3 million that Max Scherzer received from the New York Mets.
Soto reportedly rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract that would have been the largest total payout in baseball history, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. However, the $29.33 million average would be only 20th in MLB history.
Boras also reportedly referenced the 10-year, $252 million contract Alex Rodriguez signed with the Texas Rangers in 2000 as a comparison. Not only was this the highest-ever deal at the time, it doubled the U.S. sports record for largest total payout and the $25.2 million average salary was 40 percent higher than the previous high of $15 million.
Based on this projection, Boras might want an average of about $60 million per year for Soto or about $850 million in total value.
Scherzer's current record-breaking contract is only a three-year deal, which changes the math compared to the long-term deal Soto is seeking. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was willing to match Scherzer's deal for Soto, per Heyman, but Boras rejected it.
It will clearly take a large contract to eventually sign the 23-year-old, who still has two more full seasons after this one before hitting free agency.
The two-time All-Star already has a batting title, two Silver Slugger awards and a World Series title on his resume. He finished second in MVP voting last year after finishing fifth the year before.
If he does hit free agency after the 2024 season, Soto will still be in his prime with likely a lot more productive years ahead of him.
Rodriguez similarly became a free agent before his age-25 season and went on to win three MVP awards with the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees, leading the league in home runs five times.
It seems if the Nationals or any other team want this level of production from Soto, they will have to pay a high price.