On Saturday, Washington Nationals star Juan Soto reportedly turned down a $440 million contract that would’ve marked the largest deal in MLB history.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman attempted to explain why Soto and his representation made this choice to turn down the massive 15-year contract.
“1. Heavy backloading of deal is tantamount to big deferral 2. $29M AAV is seen as old figure in light of Scherzer, other deals 3. Team is likely to be sold so owner unknown,” Heyman wrote on Twitter.
One team has already emerged with having the best chance of landing Soto in a blockbuster trade.
Per R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports, that team is the St. Louis Cardinals.
“This is almost certain to age poorly, but yes, we think the Cardinals have the clearest path of any team to acquiring Soto. They’ve won out on Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado in recent seasons, and have taken swings on Francisco Lindor, among others, demonstrating that they have the appetite and willingness to make a blockbuster addition.
The Cardinals also have the ability to offer a package that includes some combination of Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn, Dylan Carlson, and Tyler O’Neill, among others. Additionally, they’ll have Goldschmidt’s contract coming off the books after the 2024 season … or right when Soto’s extension would crank up to cover his free-agent years. It’s possible Soto would prefer to play on a coast, but shy of that, Mike Rizzo should direct one of his first phone calls about Soto to the Cardinals.”
Now that Soto has turned down this offer, the Nationals are reportedly willing to listen to trade offers for the 23-year-old All-Star.
On the season, Soto has a .250 batting average to go along with 42 RBIs and 19 home runs.