Jon Heyman thinks Scott Boras wants $43M in AAV for Juan Soto

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E

The issue with the Nationals' $440 million extension offer that Juan Soto turned down clearly isn't simply the dollar amount. That's a boatload of money and would represent the largest contract in baseball.

The sticking point is likely that Washington's offer only registers at an average annual value (AAV) of $29.33 million, which would rank around 17th in Major League Baseball. Audacy Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman lent credence to that theory during a Wednesday appearance with The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. His main takeaway? That the Nationals aren't even close to meeting Soto's expectations.

Heyman believes Soto's agent Scott Boras is seeking an AAV in the range of the $43 million Max Scherzer received from the Mets (over three years) but with substantially more length on the contract. Boras was recently a guest on Heyman's podcast, "The Show: A NY Post Baseball Podcast."

"I would think that the value of the contract is the key," Heyman told The Sports Junkies. "I wouldn't say getting to free agency, I would say getting the value that they think is market value, the appropriate value. I would think that's number one. He didn't put it that way. He certainly mentioned the fact that he doesn't know who the owner's going to be. The owner, frankly, is leaving the Nats, so it's probably difficult to blame Soto for not doing everything he can to stay with the Nats. But I do think it's about the value of the contract and the money. Obviously this is enough money for Juan Soto and all of his descendants forever, pretty much, but these guys are all competitive and they all want the appropriate contract and nobody wants to be underpaid, even if you're paid enough money to live as fabulously as you want to live."

"The fact that it's a $29.3 million average annual value, Scott did not think that was appropriate," Heyman continued. "I'm sure Soto does not think it's appropriate either. I'm sure they're likeminded. And Boras brought up the Max Scherzer $43 million. There are a lot of guys making in the mid-thirties. But Scherzer just got the $43 million contract that Scott negotiated and it didn't sound like he'd see any reason why it should be less than $43 million a year."

"Well they would probably give him the $43 million," noted Junkies host Jason Bishop. "But they ain't giving him 15 years."

"Right. [Nationals GM] Mike Rizzo countered when Scott mentioned the Scherzer contract at $43 million," Heyman said. "He told them that he would give them the Scherzer contract, he would give them the $43 million at three years. Obviously Boras didn't take that."

"Why not, though?" asked Eric Bickel.

"Well he's 23 years old," Heyman replied. "He brought up that all the guys who are in their mid-twenties as free agents, who are 28, 29, who are superstars, they end up getting at least seven-year deals. Now we're talking about a guy who's 23 years old. Would you take a three-year deal when you're 23 years old?"

"So was there a deal that Juan would have signed," Bishop asked. "Ten years, $500 million?"

"Well he says $43 million," Bickel said.

"But no owner in sports, no owner in the history of the world is gonna give someone 13 years, 15 years at $43 million a pop," Bishop countered.

"Well, did anyone think that Alex Rodriguez — I mean that's a comparable type player, a guy who was gonna be a free agent at age 25, 26 — did anyone think that he was gonna get $252 million at that time?" Heyman replied. "Remember that the highest contract was Kevin Garnett, $126 million. So a baseball free agent doubled that contract. Now, as Scott brought up on our podcast, there are now basketball players making $50 and $60 million a year. I'm not a basketball expert, but I've seen some of the contracts come in and I think that some of them are in that kind of range."

One would reasonably assume that if Boras is seeking $43.3 million in AAV (or more), then he'd be willing to come down in the length of the contract. But let's assume the opposite, that Boras is trying to blow baseball's top contract out of the water (Mike Trout's 12-year, $426.5 million deal with the Angels).

That means the Nationals' offer (15 years, $440 million) may be off by $209.95 million in total value and off by $14 million in AAV.

Yes, you're processing that information correctly. If Soto is shooting for the top contract in all of baseball, both in AAV and total dollar amount, then he'd roughly be seeking a 15-year, $649.95 million (at a $43.33 million AAV). If he's looking to set a new record for American sports, then the Nats may need to go a little higher. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes owns that one, at $450 million over 10 years, at a rate of $45 million per season.

Following all of those same benchmarks would constitute a $675 million deal (15 years at $45 million AAV).

"It sounds like the number that you need to hit needs to start with a six if you want to get Juan," Bickel noted to Heyman. "Because 43 times 15 is 645."

"Who's gonna pay that?" Bishop said. "That's nuts."

"He doesn't name the number. He doesn't say it," Heyman clarified of Boras' comments. "You'd have to listen to the podcast to get the exact thought of what it is. But that's the impression that I drew, that he's got the $43 million on the... someone has received $43 million. Max Scherzer, your former player. And there are players who are at that age who get exceedingly long contracts.

"You know, you saw [Bryce] Harper get the 13 years. A lot of these guys have gotten long eight, nine, 10, 11 years, and certainly A-Rod got 10 years with an opt-out at age 25 at that time, similar to Soto. Yeah, that's the conclusion that I drew. You can draw your own conclusion if you listen to the podcast. He's not that crass that he says 'oh, I want 15 years at $50 million a year.' He doesn't say it that way. He says it much more eloquently than that, so you have to listen to it and draw your own conclusion. That's the conclusion that I drew, that it's gonna be over $43 million. It's gonna be very long."