Juan Soto has been on an absolute tear to close out the 2021 season, catapulting himself into the NL MVP conversation and potentially earning himself some more money down the line.
Spotrac, a sports payroll and salary cap database, now projects Soto to earn a 15-year, $503 million contract whenever he signs his next deal. It's the first time Spotrac has ever projected a player to earn more than $500 million on his next contract.
Soto earning half a billion dollars would be the biggest contract in MLB history, passing Mike Trout's 10-year, $360 million extension he signed with the Angels in 2019 and Mookie Betts' 12-year, $365 million extension with the Dodgers.
Whether or not he'd get $500 million remains to be seen, as he still has three more years under team control before hitting free agency in 2025. The Nationals could come to terms on an extension with Soto before that date, when there's still no precedent for a $400 million extension, let alone $500 million.
It's hard to imagine Soto not being worth every penny of that deal, though. At just 22 years old, he's already established himself as one of the best hitters on the planet and has put up Barry Bonds-like numbers during the final month of the 2021 campaign.
Over the last 16 games, Soto is slashing .537/.653/.926, with four doubles, a triple and five home runs. The last time a player hit .500/.650/.900 during a 16-game stretch was Bonds in 2004, per Stathead. Bonds won his fourth-straight MVP award in 2004 and recorded the third-highest OPS (1.42) of all time during that season.
For now, Soto can simply focus on continuing to hit the cover off the ball over the final nine games of the Nationals' season. He's closing fast on Bryce Harper and Fernando Tatis Jr. for the NL MVP award.