Nationals Rumors: Trea Turner, Juan Soto Contract Extensions Interest WAS

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2021

Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, right, watches teammate Juan Soto, catches a fly ball during a baseball intrasquad game at Nationals Park, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

The Washington Nationals would be wise to keep Trea Turner and Juan Soto around for the long term. They reportedly want to do just that this offseason. 

According to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network, the Nats are "trying to extend both Turner and Soto again after making offers to both last spring as well. There seems to be a bit of optimism at least on Turner, who has two years to go before free agency."

Turner, 27, was excellent for the Nationals in 2020, hitting .335 with 12 homers, 41 RBI, 46 runs and 12 stolen bases. Projected out to a 162-game season, Turner would have blasted 33 homers with 113 RBI, 126 runs and 33 stolen bases. That elite production is further proof that the shortstop's offense has developed him into far more than just a speedster on the basepaths.

Soto, 22, is one of the game's ascending superstars. The outfielder won the batting title in 2020, hitting .351, to go along with 13 homers, 37 RBI and 39 runs. In a full season, those numbers project to 45 homers, 128 RBI and 134 runs. 

It was no surprise that Soto was fifth in the MVP voting, the second straight year he's been a top-10 finisher.  

Likewise, it's no surprise that the Nats would want to lock up Turner and Soto as soon as possible. The team has already seen other homegrown talents like Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon depart via free agency in recent years. 

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said the organization would eventually like to get deals done with both players when asked about the possibility of extensions earlier in March, telling reporters

"We've discussed internally with ownership about it. We're in the midst of making decisions on what a timeframe would look like. And again, it goes back to my early press conference where we talked about it as we certainly would love to. We certainly have made and will make a long-term extension offer to both players sometime in the near future."

For Turner and Soto, their decisions come down to securing long-term security sooner at the expense of maximizing their market potential as free agents down the line. Harper and Rendon went the latter route. A player like the San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr.—who signed a 14-year, $340 million extension with the Padres after just two MLB seasons—preferred the former.