Will Juan Soto eventually leave the Washington Nationals?

Juan Soto is not focused on a long-term deal, so will he eventually leave the Washington Nationals?

In a lost season that put them in the rare position of trade deadline seller, the Washington Nationals have one player to really hang their hat on. Juan Soto is having another excellent season, and he won’t turn 23 until the season is over (Oct. 25).

Headed for a second straight losing season, the Nationals are surely looking to reload rather than rebuild. Soto is the clear centerpiece of that effort, whether he’s immediately comfortable with it or not. The development of players like Victor Robles, Carter Kieboom, Keibert Ruiz and Luis Garcia will have a lot to say in how quickly Washington is a serious contender again.

When asked about the possibility of a contract extension by Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post, here’s what Soto said.

“I’m going to try to take it year by year. I’m just going to keep playing baseball, not think about contracts or whatever … right now, I was a little frustrated, but I have to concentrate on the field, on how to be better for myself and my teammates. If they want to talk to my agent, they can talk to him. But let me play.”

Will Juan Soto eventually leave the Nationals?

First off, Nationals’ fans can take a deep breath. Soto is under team control for three more years after this one via arbitration. As a Scott Boras client, he’s unlikely to sign long-term anytime soon. When the Nationals reportedly made a 10-year, $180 million contract offer nearly two years ago, some people even called for Soto to play it out year-to-year like Bryce Harper did. With three years to go before he can hit free agency, that’s still the best path barring a Godfather offer from the Nationals.

If the Nationals don’t return to being competitive in 2022 or 2023 and he hasn’t agreed to an extension (again, unlikely on the latter), then Soto’s status as a free agent after 2024 will become a thing. But right now, and for now, he’s saying his focus is elsewhere and a new contract is not a huge priority. Nothing more, and nothing less.

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