In addition to the 13-year, $350MM extension offer that Juan Soto reportedly turned down prior to the lockout, it was recently reported that Soto rejected a second offer after the lockout. The specific financial details of that second offer haven’t been publicly revealed, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that it was for “at least” $400MM.
$400MM would be a significant symbolic barrier to cross, as it would be the first time an MLB player surpassed that threshold. The current record for the largest guarantee is the $365MM in new money given to Mookie Betts when he agreed to an extension with the Dodgers. Soto says that he’s still open to an extension, but it seems like it might take more than a record-breaking contract to get it done.
Other notes from the NL East…
- From the same Nightengale piece, he relays that the Mets plan on being aggressive at the trade deadline but without giving up their top prospects. Instead, they would prefer to make deals by taking on large contracts from other teams. This wouldn’t be the first time they considered this approach, as the Mets reportedly were in discussions with the Padres this offseason on a deal that would have sent Dominic Smith to San Diego in exchange for Chris Paddack, Emilio Pagan, Eric Hosmer and $30MM to help cover Hosmer’s salary. The deal ended up falling through due to the Mets’ medical staff growing concerned with the medical records of Paddack, who ended up requiring Tommy John surgery after being traded to the Twins instead. The new CBA added a fourth luxury tax line at the $290MM mark, which the Mets have pushed themselves right up against. Jason Martinez of Roster Resource estimates their current luxury tax number to be $289.4MM, but it seems the division-leading Mets are willing to push over the line in order to bolster the club for the final push. They apparently won’t be dipping deep into their farm system, which is ranked the 16th in the league by Baseball America, but should get a boost at the upcoming draft when they will make two out of the first 14 picks.
- The reason the Mets have an extra first round draft pick is because of last year’s Kumar Rocker saga. The Mets selected him 10th overall and were apparently going to offer him a $6MM bonus, $1.26MM above slot value, until they grew concerned by something in his throwing elbow during a post-draft medical evaluation and withdrew their offer. Now a report from Kiley McDaniel and Jeff Passan of ESPN relays that Rocker underwent shoulder surgery in September. Rocker’s agent Scott Boras characterized the procedure as “a minor scope” in the piece. Rocker signed with the Tri-City ValleyCats of the independent Frontier League in preparation for re-entering the draft this year. Through five starts, he’s pitched 20 innings with a 1.35 ERA, 32 strikeouts and four walks. Despite the surgery, Jim Callis of MLB.com believes that Rocker has shown himself healthy enough to be selected at some point in the first round of the draft, which begins on July 17.
Rocker seems like this year’s draft’s biggest mystery. Could go early in the first round, could go late first round. Nobody has a great idea where he’ll be selected. Though one thing I’d keep in mind is to take his Frontier League stats with a grain of salt. The average fastball is like 87-89 MPH and Rocker has reportedly been averaging at like 94-96 and is touching 98.
In college, the average fastball is between 87 and 95 MPH so I don’t think it’s that far off what you’re reporting that the league throws.
Now, according to Observer-Reporter… “Pitching dominated in the Frontier League during 2019 like never before. While every club had pitchers who threw fastballs in the mid-90s…”
So, I’m going to assume that the average fastball is probably closer to low-90s.
Well, I’ve worked the Washington Wild Things’ pitch tracking software a good portion of their season at home this year. Uneless it’s inaccurate, most pitches coming in sit around 88 MPH. We only have two or three guys who can consistently throw 92-94 MPH. Maybe it’s closer to 88-90 MPH, but Rocker is by far and away the hardest throwing pitcher in the Frontier League.
So you’re a pirate and a frontiersman. On sea or on land. Whatever it takes!
Fair enough. But regardless, I think even if a team is looking to draft him, they’re not looking at his stats in the league and saying, Wow! He’s going to destroy MLB hitters. They’re looking at his form and skill level and whether or not it would convert to MLB level talent.
In the end though, MLB draft is so random at times. A lot of First rounders don’t even get to the MLB while players in the 10 or 15th round are current stars or at least decent contributors to the team. For example, Jacob deGrom was picked in the 9th round. J.D. Martinez was picked in the 20th round. Just two scrubs currently playing in the MLB.
True, I don’t think scout or front office executive that has input on the draft When teams look at players, it’s mostly looking at their ability, athleticism, talent, makeup, and other things you can’t put a number on. Unless the guy has a blatant worrying stat (like a 25%+ K-rate as a batter), then it’s probably an afterthought.
There’s a lot of crapshoots in the draft. I’m sure there’s at least one all-star player from beyond the 10th round of every draft you can probably find.
Actually, the first professional baseball game I ever went to was a Washington Wild Things game. Their park is a whole lot easier to get to and much closer to me than PNC.
Yea the MLB draft is so different then the other leagues because of how the bouns works, sometimes the top pick isn’t the #1 guy so said team can save money later on. Some team take guys at the end that they believe are 1st or 2nd round talents incase something falls thru ala rocker they have some1 to fall back on and offer that money to. The Jays did this with Tellez and offered him 800,000 as their last or 2nd last pick. Didn’t the pirates do this last year and score 3 we st round talents aswell cuz they picked the 5th ranked guy or whatever 1st
We Stay Hungry We Devour
Andre Dawson and Nolan Ryan are the only two I know
Turning down $350 million than $400 million? I would’ve said let’s sign this thing right now after the $400 million offer for sure.
I think the other draft issue is opportunities are sometimes offered more to top drafted players than later round picks. Teams consider how much money they’ve spent as at least a factor. I know they scout players now for a long time and think they have a handle on it but it’s still “the proof is in the pudding” for MLB success.
Michael Conforto probably concurs.
Forget the fastball, the name alone is worth something.
Luxury tax kicks in at $230million, One player would count for over a fifth of your teams payroll. As good as Soto is, I just don’t see paying one person that much money. I’ve seen people suggest the Tigers trade their farm to basically get him, But if they did that what pieces would they have to put around him to compete? There are maybe 5 teams that would be willing to pay him $40M per, but they wouldn’t have the assets to trade that the Nats are asking for. This whole thing seems insane to me. The Nats are basically asking for another teams farm system for a player that is going to be well over a quarter of most teams payroll, and I know I said a 1/5 to start this, but most team sit well below the luxury tax threshold.
Detroit has done such a good job building around that Miguel Cabrera contract. Seems like a complete no brainer. (Insert eye roll)
Exactly. Those huge bloated contracts the Tigers were handing out when they were competing is directly the reason why the rebuild is taking longer. I mean they were basically paying Verlander to pitch for Houston the last three years.
And then when you add in Miggy’s still on the books for another season, you are looking at having to start paying our young core with the money you were paying him. These contracts cripple teams.
For Love of the Game
Xxx, facts are easy to check. The Tigers paid $8 mill. of Verlander’s salary for two years. Houston paid $20 mill.
Arte has had the Angels doing the same thing the last near decade as well, with 2 to 3 players consistently making upwards of 50% of the teams salary each season. Every time they get to remove one such contract it is quickly replaced with another, never allowing the team to build any form of depth
Currently it is Trout, Rendon and Syndergaard making 96 million of the 188 million payroll, and the Angels are in their typical 4th place in the division spot
Next season it will be Trout, Rendon and Ohtani making upwards of 100 million, and the cycle continues
If it’s true he turned down a guaranteed 400 mill plus, I’m sorry, but the man is stupid, and got some very bad advice from his agent. Very early 20s, already a world champion. 400 million ain’t setting the bar high enough? And now look at the year he’s having. Who knows, maybe the Nats dodged a bullet here…..
“Look at the season he’s having”
He’s having a down year in terms of Soto standars, but he still has a .366 wOBA and 134 wRC+. He is putting up his second best career walk rate and strikeout rate. He has a .227 batting average on balls in play compared to his career average BAbip of .314. He’s hitting for the same amount of power as last year with a .223 isolated slugging, compared to .221 last season. He’s getting unlucky because nothing much else has changed. Not saying turning down $400 million was smart, just that I think he’s a lot better this year than people are giving him credit for.
So, is that worth $40M+ a season?
Not saying turning down $400 million was smart, just that I think he’s a lot better this year than people are giving him credit for.
No question he is good, but not $40M+ good. The sad reality is someone is going to pay him that kind of money.
Oh no, the 23 year old phenom with a lifetime .959 OPS is having a “down” year. There’s no chance he’ll ever rebound from this and the Nationals should be proactive and trade him before his value continues to plummet. Nothing make me laugh more than the people on here who can’t see anything beyond what’s right in front of their face
He’s having a down year, for him. He’s not having a bad year, but when you’re talking about a $400m contract, that player is held to a higher standard.
You don’t want to see a guy already having inconsistent play at 23 if you’re going to have to invest 400m+ dollars in him.
I mean, some players DO begin a decline in their mid twenties. Cesar Cedeno and Dave Parker are two guys who would have looked like can’t miss future producers in their early twenties but signing them to a ten year deal at that point would have been disastrous. So it doesn’t really make sense to gaslight folks when they express such concerns.
Kris Bryant is the same. He peaked at 24 (was still very good in his 25 season).
What’s “right in front of your face” is that juan ‘so-so’ has produced All Star level seasons 2 out of 4 seasons in MLB (and one of those was barely All Star level). soto is a 1 dimensional player who is only good at the plate and has only produced 1 superstar season (and it was barely superstar- 7 WAR. It’s not like it was a Trout/Betts type of season). soto is not worth it and his evil lust for an even bigger pile of money will end up being one of the biggest mistakes in the history of sports contracts.
Soto is in a lineup that only features two legitimate big league hitters other than himself and he’s still only 23 years old. A lot of high profile prospects are just cracking the big leagues at that age and Soto is in year five. For example, Peña and Rutschman are rookies and both are nearly a full year older than Soto.
People trying to discredit a guy who is still several years away from reaching his physical prime is legitimately hilarious. It’s almost like Soto has assumed Harper’s role as the unnecessarily hated young stud OF from the Nationals. Harper received similar criticism in his early 20s and has completely silenced the critics over the years. Soto will be no different
Suggesting that he may not be worth 500 million when all is said and done IS NOT hating him. You are really stretching things here in order to try and dismiss valid concerns and predictions.
Fair enough, but you could make that argument about any player. If we’re talking about committing $500MM over the course of 13 or 14 years to a 23 year old, that AAV is pretty reasonable. Yes there are concerns about Soto’s defense long term but if he has to become a full time DH by age 30, it still wouldn’t be a bad contract. Soto already possesses elite plate discipline and power and a young age and it’s not unrealistic to say he could get even better in both areas. Offense is trending downward across the league and there will always be a high demand for elite hitters. You can count on one hand the number of hitters who are on Soto’s level
Is it the defenses that are causing the low Babip. 40 mil / for a good eye at the plate?
Shift gone next year tho
He is also having a bad year. I’d be scared to death having a player especially in a down tear for next 13 years plus.. no freaking way. If I was him I woulda signed it before I would have moved
Please read some of the posts above explaining that Soto’s “bad year” is better than most players’ good years. He’s 23 years old.
Too bad they didn’t dodge the Strasburg contract too.. he was smart. He took the huge contract before he was free agent.. and been injured ever since
Rocker’s ask will probably be the biggest determining factor in Rocker’s draft spot. If he’s still asking for what he wanted last season he could fall. If his ask is more modest, I could even see him go higher than last year.
Wonder if the Mets choose Rocker again? They refuse to agree on a contract. Rocker waits another year and Mets get another pick next year.
I don’t think the Mets will do that. Most teams don’t like it when their top pick declines to sign with them, not to mention Rocker felt insulted by the offer they gave him. It would be best for both parties if they moved on.
I think there’s zero chance the Mets draft him. Especially after pulling their initial bonus offer and changing it to a no signing bonus offer. If I was Rocker I would enjoy beating the Mets with my best stuff the rest of my career. That was a bad look on the Mets. They could’ve at least cut they bonus in half no problem but choose to insult Rocker.
He ended up needing surgery, how is this a bad look for the Mets?
Yeah, Rocker “felt insulted”. However the Mets were right about his medicals. He did indeed have surgery the same year that he got drafted. The Mets would’ve been roasted by the fanbase if they signed him. Now the team gets a redo on the pick (-1 spot) AND Kumar gets a chance to be re-drafted and start his career.
The only scenario where I could see Rocker with Mets again would be if he expects the same contract as last year and he then falls out of 1st round, maybe the Mets are willing to pay. (But that causes complications elsewhere due to the draft cap)
If a player is drafted by a team but doesn’t sign, that team would need permission from the player to draft him again the next time the player is eligible. Not sure if the Mets have sought permission to draft again, or if Rocker/Boras would be okay with that, after what happened last year.
Soto not worth it! Look at how my Brewers got ripped off with Cain’s contract! 16million this year for nothing! If this was NBA, it would be a sign and trade deal!
Cain isn’t Soto. Brewers paid for a known commodity that was aged, whereas Soto is a young talent that is being offered a contract based on potential. I’m surprised he’s turned it down. It’s one thing to bet on yourself, it’s another to say if it’s worth that gamble. At that point, what’s another 50-100M added on in a couple of years vs the potential for injury?
If the offer to Soto was around 400 million and he said no to that????…….just trade him and get what they can before they lose him to free agency. I’m sure any reasonable Nationals fan would understand that decision. Don’t start with the I don’t know what I’m talking about or he’s irreplaceable and all that garbage. It’s almost like he wants to be the first 500 million dollar player.
The issue with trading him is the Nats asking price is going to be through the roof. They are going to want at least one mlb ready, if not already proven player and a butt load of prospects. Basically any team that actually lands him in a trade is going to need to build their team around him after the trade. The one team I see that might do this is Baltimore, but even that is a reach.
Not really. He won’t sign an extension with the team that trades for him (Boras). He’s a rental and is losing value every day.
The Nationals are toast. Time to get what they can for Bell and Cruz and trade Soto in the offseason. At that point, he is a 2-year rental and they can ask teams for 2 of their top 5 prospects and their 1st round pick from this year’s draft.
Don’t doubt your thoughts on the ridiculousness of Soto turning down a $400 million offer. It’s the height of arrogance for him to do so.
Most of the commenters on here are fanboys who think the owners are playing with monopoly money. There isn’t any reason whatsoever, quantifiable or otherwise, why Soto is worth $400 million.
The Nats are awful with him this year. One player doesn’t make a difference on a team with 25 others that aren’t good.
Any team that gives Soto even $300 million needs their collective heads examined. Juan effing Soto lol
I think rocker must have something pretty severe that could make him a zero like aiken back then.
Many accused the mets of being greedy but don’t forget not signing cost them 1.2 millions of slot value or basically the value of a second round pick.
That is because they saved 1.2 mil to sign rocker and by the time they cancelled the deal the draft was over.
The mets get the draft pick back and also the slot money but the 1.2 mil they saved for rocker are gone, so essentially they forfeited a second round pick for not signing rocker.
Of course they did not actually lose that pick completely as they did sign a person but they could have signed for example a high bonus demand HS guy instead of some college senior.
That is a big price to pay and the mets must have known something.
The Mets didn’t lose anyone else but Rocker from the last draft so it didn’t much matter.
I think he’s saying the money they planned on Rocker taking could have been better used later in the draft… but it’s not like they could/would plan on not signing their #1 choice.
Hindsight is 20/20.
Yeah, which is why it doesn’t make sense. Yeah avoiding Rocker may help them get a guy later, but I think you’re worse off if you cant get your underslot 1st guy and end up losing more guys later.
And I thought the article was about John Rocker.
Soto is worth nowhere near $400 million. Between Strasburg and now this ridiculous offer, the Nats have, hands down, the dumbest management/ownership in MLB
I’m not a Nats fan, but how do you explain their world series championship if they are “the dumbest management/ownership in MLB”?
Jeffrey R. Kosnett
The Angels are no better. As for Soto, maybe he wants to live and play somewhere else other than D.C.
I could see the Dodgers offering him 45-50 million per year, but on a much shorter contract.
Him being Soto.
Thanks. We thought you meant Rocker.
I think John is going to be pumped for his son Kumar once he gets drafted.
Probably told him to fake an injury so he wouldn’t be playing for the Mets.
If Bob Nightengale is telling us that it was over $400M, I’m inclined to believe the deal was a max $399M. The guy is just never right about anything.
I still wouldn’t draft Rocker. If the NYMs drafted him at #10, didn’t sign him because of the MRIs, and he subsequently got a “minor” procedure, almost by default he must be worth less.
And Boras absolutely cannot be trusted on this one. He said Rocker was healthy enough to pitch last year, but still had an operation. This feels like the Conforto situation all over again.
Does anyone know if Rocker has undergone the pre-draft physicals this year? He didn’t last year.
I think Rocker will make some team look very smart. I like that he has a chip on his shoulder and I think he has a chance to be a special talent.
I predict he will be a closer rather than a starter, but if he makes it as a starter I think it will be special.
I think the floor for him is a closer. I was concerned last year how he’d fare as an SP. Vandy worked him like a dog and he only had two really good pitches going into 2021. I will give him credit though, he has at least three plus offerings, and four average or better offerings now.
It’s a shame mlbtr doesn’t evaluated players entering the draft or just potential top 10 picks. They are first to give covid updates and demotion updates… Hardly any trade rumor stories. Heck, they choose hot dog toppings and nba questions over real mlb questions.
Can they place an “Everything but” in front of the mlbtr label?
There are plenty of other sites, some requiring a paid sub, which does a very good job at evaluating draft and minor league talents. Do you go to a steakhouse with seven items on the menu complaining that there aren’t any vegan options?
Hey all. Interesting part of the article that says Mets willing to take on bad contracts included in trade. What does anyone think a Castillo/Moustakas trade from Reds might net the Reds other than getting rid of Moustakas’s contract?
Castillo’s replacement and a middle infield starter.. would be the least returned.. more if more than one team wants Castillo that much..
Hey thanks for the reply.
Very little. You get little talent when you are dumping salary. The Mets aren’t going to trade any MLB players they might need this year. Maybe a lower value prospect or 2.
“Tri-City ValleyCats of the independent Frontier League” having great stats in this league is like a grown beating up a kid… Not impressive..
Everyone bashes the Mets for not signing players because of their medical records. But most of the time, they’re right.
I was just thinking that. Between Paddack and Rocker it looks like the Mets avoided landmines twice. Their medical staff deserves a raise!
Jeffrey R. Kosnett
And add Conforto. I am a Mets fan and have no complaints at all about the Rocker matter. The Mets have lots of pitchers. They need bats.
Didn’t they offer him the QO and he turned it down? I’m not sure that’s really a win for their medical staff…
But they did avoid a land mine. It’s certainly possible that the Mets staff, medical or not, knew that Conforto had the potential to be damaged goods.
If Rocker is there when the Phillies pick, they have to consider him.
Dutch Vander Linde
Mets dodge a bullet by not making that trade with the Padres.
A reminder to all the fans bashing Soto for being “arrogant” and “stupid” to turn down an offer that’s only a rumor that hasn’t been verified:
Soto is a 23-year-old from the Dominican Republic. His agent is Scott Boras.
Do you seriously think Juan is making these decisions on his own?
Again with this? He’s 23, last time I checked that makes him an adult. He’s from DR, does that mean he can’t make his own decisions? The agent works for him, not the other way around. It’s his decision to make. If he lets Boras make it for him, then that was his decision and it’s still his responsibility. This is on Soto, whatever decision is made, the agent is only an advisor and if a player takes the agent as more than that, again, that’s entirely on him.
Scott Boras earns a 5% commission. On a $400M contract, he’d be taking a $20M cut. If Soto doesn’t seek his agent’s advice and listen to it, Boras has a fool for a client. If, on the other hand, Boras isn’t advising him realistically about his market, Soto needs to find another agent ASAP.