Contract negotiations between Juan Soto and Washington citizens have intensified, according to People in MLB Hector Gomez. It seems the national team is focusing their efforts on locking their 23-year-old superstar into a long-term contract.
However, the motive behind their actions towards Soto may have more to do with a potential team sale than anything else. FOX reporter Ken Rosenthal explains that the Lerner family is looking to entice the sale of the team by putting Soto on the books for the next decade.
“They (Country) are trying to renew Soto,” said Rosenthal. “What they want to do is provide cost certainty to ownership groups looking at the group trying to buy it.”
Last month, New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported that a potential sale of Nationals could leave Soto untraded. He noted that “every” bidder had informed the Lerner family that they wanted Soto on the team.
So Rosenthal’s latest report makes sense. The country is more attractive to have Soto under a long-term contract. Without the young phenom, there could be a negative impact on ticket sales, merchandise, and other teams at first. Those are obstacles that a new owner will not want to face after spending a billion or two to buy the team.
Finally, the deal with Soto could increase the selling price.
“I didn’t know that a deal would be done,” Rosenthal continued. “Scott Boras is Juan Soto’s agent. Scott Boras usually likes his boys to go to the open market. But at the same time, the Lerner family owns the team, they don’t want to be responsible for Juan Soto’s departure from the National team. That’s why you heard [Nationals GM] Mike Rizzo says we don’t trade him. And that’s why they’re still trying to sign him.”
Soto is still open to “back and forth” contract negotiations with Countries. He won a World Series ring and batting title. He is considered one of the best baseball players and is less than 24 years old.
Soto turned down an offer of $350 million over 13 years from the Nationals. Plus, an additional beyond the original offer of Nats. The Lerners are famous for making offers to suspend contracts like they did with Max Scherzer, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. However, their offers for Soto have not been delayed according to reports. Another sign that the Lerners may be setting the table for the next Country owner.