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Passan: Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto 'Primed' to Land MLB's First $500M Contracts

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 7, 2022

DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 12: Juan Soto #22 of the Washington Nationals hugs Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels bat during the 2021 T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Coors Field on July 12, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

While the baseball world is focused on a free-agency class that included Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner and Justin Verlander this year, there may be even bigger contracts coming down the line.

ESPN's Jeff Passan made an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show and said Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto are "primed" to become the first players in Major League Baseball history to sign $500 million contracts.

Soto is under contract through the 2024 season, while Ohtani is signed through just 2023.

Passan's suggestion is particularly notable for Soto considering one reason he is no longer on the Washington Nationals was his decision to reject a 15-year, $440 million offer during the 2022 campaign.

Washington shifted into trade mode when it realized he would not be re-signing and sent him to the San Diego Padres in a deal that also saw the National League West team land Josh Bell. The Nationals received shortstop C.J. Abrams, pitcher MacKenzie Gore, first baseman Luke Voit and three highly regarded prospects.

Either Soto had no interest in remaining with the Nationals that long or assumed a $500 million offer would be coming his way down the road and rejected the $440 million offer.

Soto is just 24 years old and in the middle of his prime as a franchise cornerstone who already has a World Series crown, batting title, three Silver Sluggers, two All-Star selections and a Home Run Derby win on his resume.

That makes him an ideal candidate to land such a deal, especially if contracts continue to increase in the future.

For now, Judge has been the benchmark this offseason and agreed to a nine-year, $360 million contract with the New York Yankees, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

As for Ohtani, he brings something that Judge, Soto or anyone else cannot match as an elite pitcher and hitter. Signing him addresses a need on top of the rotation and in the middle of the batting order, so it follows that he too would be in line to ink a $500 million deal.

The two-way star is also in his prime at 28 years old and has a list of accomplishments that includes an American League MVP, AL Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger and two All-Star nods.

That list may feature the biggest contract in the sport's history one day as well.