Juan Soto turned down extension from Washington Nationals

Oct 1, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) smiles after drawing a walk against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) smiles after drawing a walk against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Washington Nationals have not been shy about their desire to keep Juan Soto for the long term. He could easily be the new face of the franchise, someone that they can build the roster around for years to come. It is just a matter of keeping him in place.

The Nationals have attempted to do just that. They had offered Soto a 13 year extension worth $350 million before the lockout which he rejected.

Juan Soto turned down latest Washington Nationals extension offer

It really should not be much of a surprise that Soto turned down this offer. He had been clear that he wanted the Nationals to prove that they are looking to contend for championships prior to his agreeing to a long term deal. The Nationals have plenty of work to do on that end.

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One should not be surprised by that request. While Soto was part of a World Series winning team in 2019, the Nationals have finished in the NL East basement in the subsequent two years. Signing Cesar Hernandez as their only major league deal is not going to do much to change their fortunes in the standings.

Nonetheless, it is clear that the Nationals have learned their lesson when it comes to attempting to lock in their young players. After waiting far too long to make an extension offer to Bryce Harper, they are attempting to keep Soto on board and avoid making the same mistake.

But the Nationals are going to need to ante up in multiple areas. Soto is currently slated to become a free agent when he is 26 years old. If he continues to perform at the same level he has to begin his career, he is likely to shatter any contract records. That $350 million offer could be laughable as he could easily receive the first $500+ million fully guaranteed contract.

Not only would they likely need to increase their offer, but they will need to improve the roster as well. The bullpen needs plenty of work, third base is a problem, and the rotation could use another arm or two. While the Nationals do have time to return to contention, Soto is also going to get even more expensive.

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The Washington Nationals made an impressive offer to Juan Soto prior to the lockout. If they are going to keep him, the vaults will need to open further.