The Washington Nationals didn't charter a flight for Juan Soto to attend the 2022 MLB All-Star Game in Los Angeles this week, but they did ask the Atlanta Braves if he could travel to the city with their All-Stars following their game Sunday, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
Atlanta didn't let Soto and Nats manager Dave Martinez fly on its team plane to the All-Star Game, as the flight was full, per Heyman. Soto ended up flying to L.A. on a commercial flight.
Heyman added, "the Braves were smart avoid any suggestion of impropriety via extra time with an available superstar" amid trade rumors.
Last weekend, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Soto rejected a 15-year, $440 million extension from the club and that the team would entertain trade offers for the superstar.
Afterward, the Nationals did not charter a flight for Soto to attend this year's All-Star Game. Soto's agent, Scott Boras, told Sports Illustrated:
"The Atlanta Braves arrived (in Los Angeles) five hours earlier than Juan Soto did. You know why? Because their team chartered a plane. Juan Soto had to fly on a commercial flight and wait in an airport for two hours and get here at 1:30 in the morning and have to compete in the Home Run Derby. And that’s something that Major League Baseball did not take care of and that’s something that the Washington Nationals did not take care of.”
Despite a delay in his travels to L.A., Soto went on to win the Home Run Derby.
The 23-year-old is expected to become one of the highest-paid players in baseball on his next contract.
Seven teams have made preliminary offers for Soto, including the Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and New York Mets, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
The 23-year-old two-time All-Star is on a Hall of Fame track after four-plus campaigns. This season, he's hitting .250/.405/.497 with 20 home runs, 43 RBI, five stolen bases and 79 walks in 91 games.
The MLB trade deadline is August 2, and if the Nationals don't receive an offer they view as worthy of Soto's value, they will be content to hold on to him, as he is under team control for two more seasons via arbitration eligibility.
Any team that is willing to trade for Soto must also be willing to acquire starting pitcher Patrick Corbin. According to The Athletic's Jim Bowden, the Nats want "multiple major leaguers and top prospects" and to "offload" Corbin's contract.