Juan Soto 'Has to Be Miserable' With Nationals, Opposing MLB Coach Says

Erin WalshJune 2, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 30: Juan Soto #22 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after scoring on Josh Bell #19 2-run single in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 30, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

While the Nationals have no intention to trade Juan Soto, one rival coach believes the superstar outfielder isn't enjoying his time in Washington and should be playing elsewhere.

"Get Soto out of there. He has to be miserable," he told Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo said during an appearance on The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan this week that the team won't trade Soto before the August deadline and instead plans to build around him.

"We made it clear to his agent and to the player," Rizzo added. "... We have every intention of building this team around Juan Soto. We've spoken to his agent many, many times—recently sat with him when he was in Washington, D.C.—made it clear to him that we are not interested in trading him and I guess the rest of the world just doesn't believe it. But that's our position."

While the Nationals intend to keep Soto, who will become a free agent after the 2024 season, that doesn't mean he wants to stay in Washington. In February, ESPN's Enrique Rojas reported that the 23-year-old turned down a 13-year, $350 million extension with the club.

"Yes, they made me an offer a few months ago, before the lockout," Soto said. "But right now, my agents and I think the best option is to go year by year and wait for free agency. My agent, Scott Boras, has control over the situation."

At the time, Soto said he could see himself spending his entire career with the Nationals, though he might not think that way if the team's struggles continue.

The Nationals have finished at the bottom of the NL East standings in each of the last two seasons and missed out on the playoffs. The team is headed toward another season of disappointment as it currently sits last in the division with an 18-34 record.

That said, Soto hasn't performed to expectations this year either, batting .227/.376/.432 with nine home runs and 16 RBI in 52 games. For comparison, he had a career slash line of .301/.432/.550 entering this season.

It's unclear what type of deal Soto will seek once he hits free agency. However, he'll likely become one of MLB's highest-paid players on his next deal, joining the likes of fellow outfielders Mookie Betts and Mike Trout in making more than $30 million per year.