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Nationals' Soto open to extension: 'We're going back and forth'

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Washington Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto is trying to remain focused on what he can control on the field as rumors about him inking a long-term extension continue to swirl.

"We're going back and forth, and I feel good about that," Soto told The Washington Post's Jesse Dougherty on Friday. "They are talking to my agent, and I have nothing to do with it. He is just talking to them, and I want to play baseball."

Soto reportedly rejected a second massive extension proposal from the Nationals during spring training that exceeded the 13-year, $350-million offer he turned down last fall.

Soto admitted he has some interest in testing free agency after the 2024 season but also feels comfortable playing in Washington.

"Everybody wants to go to free agency and see how the market is going to be for them," Soto said. "But for me, I really don't know if I want to go there or if I want to stay here. I feel really good here. We'll see what's going to happen. For me, right now, the plan that we always have is go year by year. But you don't know what the future has for you."

The 23-year-old is struggling this season relative to his first four MLB campaigns, hitting just .225/.377/.439 with 14 home runs and 32 RBIs across 77 games. He said the uncertainty around his contract weighs on him but refused to attribute his issues on the field to it.

"I mean … we're human. It's going to be a little bit on your mind," Soto said. "But it's not the reason I'm struggling at all."

Despite an inconsistent season, Soto said he's confident that he is close to hitting his stride.

"I feel great. … You'll see. My swing is feeling better. My timing is feeling better. Whenever I hit a ball to the left-center gap, you can be 100% sure things are going to be better," Soto added. "That's going to be really soon. That's a good thing you can put out there: Things are going to change."

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