All-Star outfielder Juan Soto and the Nationals have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $17.1 million deal. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand was among the reporters to tweet out the news on Tuesday evening.
Juan Soto and the Nationals have agreed to a $17.1 million contract to avoid arbitration, per source.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 22, 2022
Soto, who was a “super two” player and is in his second season of arbitration eligibility, gets a sizable raise from the $8.5 million he made in 2021. The two-time Silver Slugger, 2019 World Series champion and 2019 All-Star is still under Nationals control for the 2023 and ‘24 seasons as well, so this deal gives him a solid chance to break salary records for arbitration-eligible players before he actually hits free agency. Unless, of course, he signs a long-term extension with Washington, which GM Mike Rizzo has said is his biggest goal. For that reason, the Nationals certainly were motivated to avoid arbitration with Soto, as arguing your case for why a player deserves less money than he wants while he’s in the room tends to negatively affect player-team relationships.
Soto, 23, is a .301/.432/.550 career hitter over four major league seasons. He hit .313/.465/.534 with 29 homers and 95 RBI in 2021, leading the majors in on-base percentage and finishing second in National League MVP voting. His 7.1 bWAR was also the highest of any NL position player.