Soto happy to join ‘winning team’ by dodging renewal originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
After three years living in the basement of the NL East, Juan Soto returned to the playoff race.
The former Nationals outfielder experienced first hand what it was like to fight for a postseason spot in 2019 when he helped Washington secure a Wild Card spot and make an incredible run to a World Series title. However, over the following three seasons, the club spent most of its time near the bottom of the division standings.
Now that he’s a member of the Padres, he has nothing to worry about. On Tuesday, the Nationals traded him and Josh Bell to San Diego. blockbuster deal which will take him to the NL West for at least the next two and a half seasons. During his opening press conference on Wednesday, he spoke of how excited he was to join the challenger.
“It was a really exciting moment for me and my family,” Soto said. “I am happy to join this team. I’ve been watching this team since day one in DC and they’re doing a great job of playing good baseball and I’m more than happy to join a winning team and be a part of it and try my best to push them for as long as possible. how can we.”
In Soto, San Diego gets one of the best hitters in the game. The 23-year-old has amassed an impressive array of honors in Washington DC: two Silver Slugger awards, two All-Star selections, a COVID season title, a Home Run Derby win and three top-10 MVPs. Not to mention, he earned the World Series ring by posting a .927 OPS in the playoffs.
Judging by the tawdry numbers Soto put up for the national championships, the team was unable to capitalize on his ascension to the MVP nomination beyond 2019. Washington entered the game on Wednesday with a 127-201 record from 2020, the third-worst record in a major in that period. . The club signaled its intention to enter last year’s trade deadline losing streak by cutting the roster and making Soto the undisputed face of the franchise heading into this season.
Despite all the losses, Soto admitted that he trying to do too much sometimes on a plate. He started slowly, though only by his high standards. The jump from the team with the worst track record in baseball to the Padres, currently in playoff position, is sure to energize the fun-loving superstar.
“It’s really nice,” Soto said of the rival stick landing. “I feel really pumped up to be here. As you said, leaving a team that has no chance of going all the way is a great feeling. This is a new atmosphere, this is a new start for me. This year it’s just a new beginning, a new feeling where I can give more than I have.”
Even after this season is over, the Padres boast one of baseball’s most formidable quarterbacks. Shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr., third baseman Manny Machado, and starter Joe Musgrove entered into long-term deals. However, whether Soto will join them is a matter for another day.
“For me right now, I just got in,” Soto said. “I just think about winning. I just come to this club to bring the energy that I have. All the good vibrations that I have to bring here are only needed for victory. I’m focused on this year where we are in the standings compared to other teams. So I just think about winning like I told AJ [Preller] earlier today.”