With their 14-year, $340 million, franchise-altering contract extension to star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres introduced to the baseball world their intentions at perennial competition. However past the rejoicing happening in San Diego at protecting the longer term face of the league in lovely brown pinstripes, the dialog nearly instantly shifted to the sport’s different 22-year-old phenom: What does this imply for Juan Soto?
Predictably, calls for for the Nationals to pony up large cash for Soto started in earnest. Hypothesis abounded for the way a lot cash it might take for Soto to signal a deal much like Tatis’s, with some believing that $340 million “isn’t even close” to how a lot Washington must supply to get a deal executed.
No matter what the Nationals resolve to do, the query for Soto is whether or not or not he’ll find yourself being baseball’s first half-a-billion-dollar participant. That quantity sounds audacious, but when we put Soto’s historic begin to his profession in context with different components that will affect his incomes energy, then $500 million begins to look inside his attain.
First, a take a look at Soto’s historic friends reveals simply how really particular he’s been. By means of his age-21 season, he’s posted an OPS+ of 151, which ranks eleventh highest in baseball historical past amongst gamers of the identical age (minimal 500 plate appearances). He’s forward of inner-circle Corridor of Famers Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Robinson and Mel Ott. He additionally outpaces a few of his contemporaries in that class, like Ronald Acuña Jr., Cody Bellinger, Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Correa—not dangerous for a man who made simply 35 minor league plate appearances above Class A.
Soto has the fifth-best on-base proportion (.415) below the identical standards—higher than Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Stan Musial and Rickey Henderson. His OPS (.972) ranks sixth all-time—one spot forward of Tatis and two forward of Trout.
In a testomony to how well-established his popularity is at such a younger age, he turned the second participant 21 or youthful ever to steer the majors in intentional walks final season (12), and the primary since Eddie Mathews in 1953. Soto’s 12 free passes are tied for the fourth most ever given to a participant 21 or youthful, and he was on tempo to interrupt Griffey’s file of 21 set in 1991 if he hadn’t performed in a pandemic-shortened 60-game season.
A take a look at participant similarity scores from Baseball-Reference drives the bigger level residence: Soto is on observe to be one of many biggest hitters of his technology. His most related participant is Frank Robinson, the one participant to win an MVP award in each leagues. Six of Soto’s 10 most related gamers are Corridor of Famers. Among the many different 4 are Trout and Acuña.
Trout, Acuña and Tatis all share one thing in frequent: They signed nine-figure extensions with their authentic franchises that saved them below crew management for no less than a decade. It’s potential that Soto, who’s repped by Scott Boras, is unlikely to go that route except Washington comes with a record-breaking supply.
Soto will doubtless attain that half-a-billion mark even when he opts in opposition to signing an extension. Tatis was projected to make round $50-60 million over three arbitration years earlier than his extension, per Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic. Soto will make $8.5 million in 2021, then has three extra years of arbitration eligibility, so we will challenge low and say he’ll make no less than $60 million from the Nationals from now till he reaches free company.
When Trout signed his mega-extension in 2019, it introduced the full worth of his contract to 12 years, $426.5 million. Soto has not completed what Trout needed to that time, however he’s on his means. And given Boras’s popularity for maximizing his shoppers’ incomes potentials—plus the improved financial panorama of the league because it strikes ahead from a season with out followers in stadiums—it’s not onerous to examine Soto getting a good larger deal when the time comes.
How this performs out shall be among the many most talked-about points in Main League Baseball for the foreseeable future. What’s not a thriller, although, is that Soto—one of many biggest younger gamers the sport has ever seen—will break information when it comes time for his large payday. It’s only a matter of which crew would be the one to write down the test.