Juan Soto is one of the most prodigious talents in baseball history.
The 23-year-old Washington Nationals right fielder is already a two-time MLB All-Star, two-time All-MLB first-team selection and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner. Oh, and he also helped lead the Nationals to a 2019 World Series win.
And yet Washington doesn’t want to seem to pay Soto what he’s worth to lock him up for essentially the rest of his career. If that sounds crazy to you, rest assured the baseball world feels the same way.
That’s even more true after Soto’s incredible MLB Home Run Derby showing on Monday night. Soto was incredible throughout the competition. He began with 18 home runs to knock out Cleveland Indiana third baseman Jose Ramirez. He then took out surprise semifinal Albert Pujols with 16 home runs in the second round.
Then, in the finals he squared off with Seattle Mariners phenom Julio Rodriguez. Rodriguez had stolen the show previously. The rookie hit an unreal 32 home runs to beat Texas Rangers star Corey Seager in round one and then backed it up with 31 to beat two-time defending champ Pete Alonso of the New York Mets in the semis.
Rodriguez put up an impressive 18 count in the finals, but it was Soto who stole the show. The Nats superstar hit 19, passing Rodriguez with plenty of time in hand to take home the title.
The moment Juan Soto became a #HRDerby champ! pic.twitter.com/VoSXTeczj9
— MLB (@MLB) July 19, 2022
JUAN SOTO IS YOUR 2022 HOME RUN DERBY CHAMPION#HRDerby // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/rZ6PqWZZP7
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 19, 2022
Nationals Fans Have A Very Loud, Very Clear Message For The Organization
Nats fans were pumped up to see their player win. But that immediately changed to ire toward the club, which could well let the player walk in a trade in the coming weeks.
I will never understand not simply giving him a blank check. Whatever he wants, he gets. https://t.co/mhb1ETQvcF
— CJ Paschall (@CJPaschallTV) July 19, 2022
PAY THIS MAN https://t.co/Exf5H19IZn
— Got Suspended (@QuellGotPacked) July 19, 2022
Tweets are cheap @nationals https://t.co/zkkOxbjqji
— Jonathan D'Ari (@jdari5) July 19, 2022
DON’T. TRADE. HIM. https://t.co/CmjaGSzMhE
— Eric Johnsen (@ericjdesigns) July 19, 2022
Pay him what he wants you clowns https://t.co/21vSaMn9q7
— Stacey Abrams for Conn Smythe: A Hockey Podcast (@saucyrockets) July 19, 2022
The last Nationals player to win the Home Run Derby was Bryce Harper in 2018. Harper then left the team the following offseason for the Philadelphia Phillies. Could we be in for a repeat with Soto?