Nationals President of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo erased any doubt that Juan Soto is on the trade block, telling 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday that Washington made three extension offers to the superstar right fielder this season before considering the possibility of moving him at the Aug. 2 deadline.
Rizzo confirmed that the club’s latest offer was for 15 years and $440 million, terms that were first reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal on July 16. He also denied leaking the offer details to Rosenthal after both Soto and his agent Scott Boras suggested over the All-Star Break that it came from the Nationals’ side.
“All I can tell you is that Mike Rizzo did not leak the information or his people in the front office,” Rizzo said. “That’s what I know 100%. It did not help us in anything we were trying to do. It didn’t help us in keeping a good relationship with Juan and it didn’t help us in any kind of leverage at the trade deadline. So it really it didn’t help us, it really hurt us that the information got out and it’s not the right thing to do.”
The Nationals’ GM categorized their offers to Soto as “above market value.” While $440 million would have represented the largest total value for any contract signed in MLB history, the $29.3 million average annual value would’ve ranked only 20th. Factoring in that Soto is already likely to make about $50 million over the next two seasons in arbitration, Boras considered the last offer to be outside the “range of consideration.”
Nonetheless, Rizzo said he didn’t take Soto’s refusal personally. When the 23-year-old informed him he wouldn’t be accepting their offer, Rizzo responded by saying the club would have to entertain other avenues moving forward.
“When we offered Juan this contract with his agent’s knowledge, we told him when the deal was turned down, ‘We’re gonna have to explore all our options,’” Rizzo said. “And that’s all we’ve ever said. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t explore all the options that now present us. We’ve got a pretty good option: We’ve got a talented Juan Soto for two and a half more seasons. That’s Option A, that’s a good one. But we also have to think about Options B and C.”
Options B and C have landed Soto on the trade market, where he could garner a historic return for Washington as it attempts to build back to contention. Though it remains in play for Soto to still be on the team past Aug. 2, Rizzo isn’t ruling anything out just yet.
“My job is to make this organization a consummate winner again,” Rizzo said. “We did, from 2012 to 2019, be a consistent winner and I have to figure out ways, as the caretaker of this franchise, to make us a championship organization for a long time to come.”