D.C. fans ‘deserve better’ than Juan Soto trade, says Chase Hughes
August 3, 2022
NBC Sports journalist Chase Hughes said that “D.C. sports fans deserve better” after Juan Soto was traded from the Washington Nationals to the San Diego Padres.
The Padres managed to acquire Soto and Josh Bell in the big trade. Meanwhile, the Nationals received Luke Voit and five other young players, including left-hand Mackenzie Gore and shortstop C.J. Abrams.
Hughes argued that losing Soto would be bad for the Nationals. Soto had only started playing for the Nationals in 2018. There is a possibility that Soto would have had more prime years ahead of him. Hughes explained that leaving the Nationals this early would cause people to dissociate Soto from the team.
Soto’s trade rumor began in the middle of July. The Nationals started pursuing the trade after the outfielder rejected a 15-year contract extension worth around $400 million. When his trade news got out, several teams made inquiries for Soto.
Soto helped the Nationals win the World Series in 2019, earned a batting title, won a home run derby, and made it two the All-Star team twice.
Hughes compared Soto to some former baseball players in the history. First, Hughes compared him to Albert Pujols, who was 23-year-old like Soto when he gathered two World Series wins and three MVP awards.
Miguel Cabrera was another player compared to Soto. Cabrera amassed two MVP titles, a triple crown, and four batting titles as 23-year-old. According to Hughes, Cabrera was also one of the greatest hitters in the league like Soto.
Cabrera was also traded out by the then-Florida Marlins to the Detroit Tigers, four years after winning a World Series. Hughes explained that Cabrera continued to make good records in his career, while the Marlins were not successful in rebuilding the team after Cabrera left.
When he left the Marlins, Cabrera had played a total of 720 games. Meanwhile, Soto recorded 565 games with the Nationals.
Nationals' management shift
Hughes brought up some past instances when the Nationals let go of potential players. He mentioned Bryce Harper, who left the Nationals to enter free agency. Harper received the National League MVP award in 2021 when his pay was only the 18th highest in the league. He did not achieve such record in the Nationals.
The journalist said the team had undergone a significant change as they used to amass superstar players. Hughes used Max Scherzer, now a pitcher for New York Mets, as an example. At that time, the Nationals had splurged $210 million to sign free agent Scherzer to the team. The Soto trade proved that the team’s focus might no longer be maintaining a superstar roster.
The Nationals franchise is reportedly undergoing a change of ownership in a matter of months. Currently, the team is still mitigating the circumstances to face the potential effects of the ownership change.
This season, the Nationals recorded 35-69, placing them fifth in the NL East. According to Hughes, there is a slim chance for the team to enter the playoffs with this record. The last time the Nationals made it to the playoffs was in 2019.