Topline

The Washington Nationals will consider trade offers for outfielder Juan Soto after the star 23-year-old turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract offer, according to multiple reportssetting the stage for what could be one of the biggest transactions in sports history.

Key Facts

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The $440 million contract would have been the largest in terms of total compensation in Major League Baseball history, topping the 12-year, $426.5 million deal Mike Trout signed with the Los Angeles Angels in 2019.

Soto is on track to become a free agent after the 2024 season, and he and his representatives could be eyeing free agency to land a contract of more than $500 million, according to the Athletic.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted that club front offices are already in discussions about what they would have to offer the Nationals to acquire Soto, and have determined it would have to be the largest trade package in MLB history.

Soto’s decision was first reported by the Athletic.

What To Watch For

The trade deadline is August 2.

Key Background

The Dominican-born Soto has been a phenom since entering the big leagues as a 19-year-old rookie in 2018. Soto was a crucial player for the Nationals the next season, in which the team won its first and only World Series to date . In 2020, Soto became the youngest player to win the National League batting championship, hitting .351 in a season shortened by the Covid pandemic. He followed that up in 2021 by batting .313, with 29 home runs and 95 runs batted in, earning his first All-Star Game appearance and a runner-up finish in NL most valuable player voting. Soto has been named an all-star again this season, despite the Nationals slumping to the worst record in Major League Baseball.

Surprising Fact

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told a Washington sports radio program on June 1 that the team will not trade Soto. "We made it clear to his agent and to the player," Rizzo said on 106.7 The Fan.

Tangent

The $440 million offer wasn't just the biggest in MLB history—it was one of the biggest in sports history, period. Only a $673 million deal Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi struck with FC Barcelona in 2017 and a contract Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes agreed to in 2020 that could be worth up to $503 million have been more valuable.

Juan Soto Rejects $440 Million Offer; Nationals will entertain trade proposals: Sources (The Athletic)

Juan Soto Trade Rumors Directly Addressed by Nationals GM (Sports Illustrated)