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General manager Mike Rizzo told reporters Monday the front office has spoken with ownership about potentially handing multiyear deals to both players. Turner is eligible for one more year of arbitration before hitting free agency in 2023. Soto, meanwhile, won’t hit the open market until 2025.
Because of the timing, Turner might be the bigger priority right now. The 27-year-old shortstop said in February he’d like to remain with the Nationals beyond his window of team control:
Between 2019 and 2020, Turner ranked fifth at his position in WAR (6.3), per FanGraphs. He slugged .525 with a .374 weighted on-base average. FanGraphs listed him fifth among all position players in base running runs above average (9.0) as well.
While Washington was unable to retain Anthony Rendon, you’d expect the front office to make a strong push to keep Turner.
On the heels of Fernando Tatis Jr. signing a 14-year, $340 million deal with the San Diego Padres, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Nationals locked up Soto well before there’s any threat of him leaving.
The 22-year-old probably isn’t as good as his 2020 numbers (13 home runs, 47 RBI and a .351/490/.695 slash line in 47 games) would indicate, but he has torn the cover off the ball from the moment he arrived in MLB in 2018. Among players with at least 1,000 plate appearances through their first three seasons, Soto is 16th all time in OPS (.972), per Stathead.
The Dominican Republic native appears poised to dominate National League pitching for seasons to come.
Because of his contract situation, fans don’t have to begin panicking just yet about Soto. But his price tag probably won’t get any lower down the line, so the longer he goes without an extension, the odds of the Nationals losing him might climb.