Via: USA Today Sports
With the MLB Trade Deadline approaching, rumors about some of the game’s biggest stars have been circulating for weeks. One of the most interesting cases of this is Juan Soto and his declining of a 14-year, $440 million contract extension from the Washington Nationals, which was news that broke the hearts of Nationals fans. Upon accepting this contract, 24-year-old phenom Juan Soto would have put himself under lock and key until he was 38, which doesn’t sound too appealing at this point in time with the way the Nationals have played recently.
After winning their first World Series in 2019, Washington was hit with some bad luck in 2020, when COVID-19 shut down much of the world. When baseball resumed in 2021, they started off the season struggling badly, and it became apparent that Scherzer would be traded. However, GM Mike Rizzo decided to trade Trea Turner, one of the best middle infielders in baseball, as well. This left the Nationals with one true star player; Juan Soto.
The heart of the franchise, Juan Soto had already played a key role in the Nationals’ World Series title in 2019, despite being just 20 years old at the time. The most impressive and flat-out unbelievable fact about Soto is that he hasn’t even reached the age where most players are in their prime. He continued to develop after his breakout year in 2019, where he batted .282 with 34 home runs and 110 RBI. Soto was on pace to have a monstrous year before the season’s premature termination in 2020, where he won a Silver Slugger and finished 5th in MVP voting. Soto has been an All-Star two years in a row, and he now has a Home Run Derby victory under his belt. Undoubtedly a future MVP, the Nationals need to give Juan Soto whatever he wants, or the organization will be left with some very unhappy fans, and may not finish above .500 for a long time coming.