Juan Soto turning down a $440 million contract caught the attention of the baseball world last week. Now, the 23-year-old is on the trade market ahead of MLB’s August 2 deadline. Before the two-time all-star won Monday night’s Home Run Derby, the outfielder flew commercial to the midsummer classic. Denying Soto’s request to fly private to the festivities in Los Angeles, it appears the Nationals are salty after the star’s contract rejection.
However, the situation extends past simply spurning Soto. The Nationals not only wouldn’t charter the team’s star and Nationals manager Dave Martinez, but Washington also asked a rival club for help. Playing the Atlanta Braves IN the nation’s capital on Sunday afternoon, the host asked its guest to make room for Soto. But Atlanta rejected the offer, citing a full plane for team personnel and media.
After news broke of the awkward circumstances, ESPN’s Buster Olney pleaded with fans to look at the several angles. While a disappointed Nationals franchise – on the verge of losing its generational star – wouldn’t pony up the funds, the franchise isn’t necessarily blameless. Olney asks why Soto’s agent, contract piranha Scott Boras, couldn’t charter a flight. Or even why Soto – under contract in 2022 for $17.1 million – didn’t pay for better accommodations.
But Jon Heyman of MLB Network refutes the idea Boras could’ve arranged for a ride. Agents can only gift players gifts worth up to $500. However, chartering a jet costs roughly $3,000 per hour according to a quick Google search.
The onus falls upon the franchise, the player or even the league to sort it out.
But Juan Soto Isn’t Alone In Finding Affordable Flight Plans
Oakland Athletics pitcher Paul Blackburn hitched a flight with the Houston Astros to the All-Star Game. Maybe it’s more common than we think. But considering Major League Baseball’s constant marketing blunders, it’s easy to point the finger at the team.
Blackburn isn’t worth Soto’s 2022 salary. However, it’s not an unreasonable request to assume an MLB franchise can scrounge together a few dollars to transport the team’s best players to represent the franchise in baseball’s big celebration. Then again, we all know how much the Athletics prefer to keep every penny on the field.