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Inside the Record-setting Juan Soto Contract That Never Was

Juan Soto rejected the biggest contract offer in MLB history — and it wasn’t even the first time! Boardroom has all the details on all the money the Nationals tried and failed to throw at their franchise star.

In the 2018-19 MLB offseason, the Washington Nationals had to watch in horror as face-of-the-franchise Bryce Harper not only departed in free agency, but did so in favor of the division rival Philadelphia Phillies to the tune of 13 years and $330 million.

Now, history is at dire risk of repeating itself. Over the weekend, news arrived as first reported by The Athletic that Soto, who is due for his first free agency following the 2024 season, rejected a contract extension offer from the Nats worth $440 million, more money than any baseball player — and almost any other athlete period — has ever signed for.

But interestingly enough, it’s not the first time Soto has rejected an overture from the rebuilding Washington franchise. And now, it’s feeling increasingly like an inevitability that their last option will be to ship him out of town — and the trade rumors are already flying.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the details of not just this latest record-setting Juan Soto contract offer that simply wasn’t mean to be, but also a similarly failed effort to extend the superstar outfielder over the offseason before the MLB lockout.

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Juan Soto Contract & 2022 Salary Details

Salary numbers via Spotrac.

Length: 1 year
Type: Arbitration-eligible (Year 2 of 4)
Value: $17,100,000

Remaining seasons of team control: 2
Free agency: 2024

Nationals Contract Extension Offers Rejected by Juan Soto

2022

Salary numbers as reported by The Athletic and later confirmed by multiple outlets.

Length: 15 years
Total value: $440,000,000
Average annual value: $29,333,333.33
Free agency: 2037

  • Would have become the biggest MLB contract of all time by total value, exceeding Mike Trout’s $426,500,000 deal with the Los Angeles Angels.
  • Would have become the No. 2 biggest contract of all time in the major US sports leagues, trailing only Patrick Mahomes’ $450,000,000 deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Would rank No. 15 in MLB by average annual value among currently active contracts.
  • Contract offer’s total value exceeds the total career earnings of all but one current or former MLB player. Alex Rodriguez, the No. 1 MLB earner of all time, made $455,159,552.
  • Contract offer’s total value exceeds the total career earnings of all current or former NBA and NFL players.
2021

Salary numbers as told to ESPN by Soto himself.

Length: 13 years
Total value: $350,000,000
Average annual value: $26,923,076.92
Free agency: 2034

  • Would have become the No. 3 biggest MLB contract of all time by total value behind Trout and Mookie Betts, who received $365,000,000 from the Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Would have become the No. 4 biggest contract of all time in the major US sports leagues, trailing Mahomes, Trout, and Betts.
  • Would rank No. 18 in MLB by average annual value among currently active contracts.
  • Contract offer’s total value exceeds the total career earnings of all but two current or former MLB players: Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera, who will have earned $353,021,111 by the end of the 2022 season.
  • Contract offer’s total value exceeds the total career earnings of all current or former NBA and NFL players except for LeBron James, who has earned $387,384,119 through the 2021-22 season.

Juan Soto’s Career Earnings

Earnings data via Spotrac.

BASE SALARY EARNINGS: $26,804,031
BONUSES AND INCENTIVE EARNINGS: $1,500,000
TOTAL MLB SALARY EARNINGS THROUGH 2022 SEASON: $28,304,031

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About The Author
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn is the Managing Editor of Boardroom. Before joining the team, he was an editor and multimedia talent for several sports and culture verticals at Minute Media and an editor, reporter, and site manager at SB Nation. A specialist in content strategy, copywriting, and SEO, he has additionally worked as a digital consultant in the corporate services, retail, and tech industries. He cannot be expected to be impartial on any matter regarding the Florida Gators or Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter @RealFakeSamDunn.