LOS ANGELES — The Nationals are said to have been hugely disappointed that superstar Juan Soto turned down their record bid of $440 million for 15 years when their people suggested people they felt they had a legitimate shot at locking him up. Meanwhile, Soto’s camp was also upset, as they believe the offer only looked impressive while falling far short of the correct annual salary.
The Nats came out with a big number overall, but missed another number that Soto’s camp felt was important. Soto’s agent Scott Boras attempted to use Max Scherzer’s $43.3 million salary as compensation. In response, the Nats made it clear in discussions that they considered Scherzer’s three-year deal irrelevant.
Nats GM Mike Rizzo took the opportunity when Boras brought up the Scherzer salary to say something along the lines of, “OK, we’re going to give Soto the Scherzer deal.” In other words, they’d be willing to give Soto exactly 43 .3 million dollars for exactly three years.
Rizzo only made one point. Naturally, since Soto is 23, he and Boras didn’t want to enter into a relatively short-term deal for this rare superstar, who will be free by the age of 25/26.
Boras tells people Scherzer’s salary is fair, however, and that Soto shouldn’t average $29.3 million over the term (or $14 million less than Scherzer’s) nor average $26.8 million over the first nine years of the deal ($16.5 million less).
Boras has also cited Alex Rodriguez as the last Superstar to be a free agent by the age of 25/26, and how A-Rod was earning 40 percent more as a free agent than the highest previous salary, which was 25 at the time $.2 million per season to surpass Kevin Brown’s previous high of $15 million. (Brown, like Scherzer, was an older star pitcher, but honestly, Brown wasn’t quite the pitcher that Scherzer is.)
A-Rod set the record at $252 million, which was double Kevin Garnett’s $126 million US sports record contract at the time. It is clear that Boras sees Soto in this category. Remember the originally estimated $500 million claim a year ago. That may end up being a conservative question.
While the deal appears interesting on the surface and represents a record, a rival manager agrees with Boras, whose camp sees this as an attempt by the Nats to increase their franchise value at a time when the team is up for sale by selling her Team lock greatest asset. People close to this situation expect the team to be sold in the coming months for over $2 billion, maybe even $3 billion.
“It’s a bad deal for [Soto]’ said the rival manager. “It’s backloaded, so it’s not even worth 29 million a year, more like 27. It’s a typical Nats deal. If I were him, I wouldn’t make that deal either.”
The Nats claim it’s not “backloading,” just that salaries are gradually increasing, from $26 million to $28 million, then to $30 million and finally to $40 million, and that the deal still covers the full 440 was worth millions of dollars.