Juan Soto’s 16-year-old brother Elian agreed to a signing commitment with the Nationals as an international free agent but plans to wait until the 2022-23 signing period next year before officially joining the club, The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reported Monday. Washington City Paper’s Byron Kerr was the first to report that a deal had been reached.
Elian Soto, whose birthday was Monday, is a left-handed third baseman and outfielder. He would be eligible to sign during the upcoming international signing period, which begins Saturday and extends through Dec. 15. However, Ghiroli reported that Elian instead decided to wait until the next year, preventing him from signing with the Nationals until Jan. 15, 2023.
Top international prospects often agree to signing commitments long before signing their actual deals. For example, the Nationals’ 2021-22 international class is expected to be headlined by Cuban outfielder Cristian Vaquero, who’s MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 overall prospect in the upcoming class. Though the signing period doesn’t begin until Saturday, Vaquero’s commitment has been reported for months.
MLB’s international free agency structure may change in the near future with the sport currently entangled in a lockout. Among the ideas that have been discussed is an international draft, which would render any handshake agreements moot if it’s implemented right away.
The New York Post reported Wednesday that Elian Soto would be signing with the New York Mets. He even posted a since-deleted video on Instagram that included batting practice footage where he was decked out in Mets gear. Yet five days later, the teenager is reportedly set on D.C. instead.