Why is Juan Soto such a burden?

Juan Soto: The Best Hitter of His Generation

In the world of baseball, there are only a few players who truly stand out from the rest. These players possess a unique combination of skill, talent, and sheer determination that sets them apart. One such player is Juan Soto, who may very well be the best hitter of his generation.

At just 22 years old, Soto has already achieved remarkable success in his career. In fact, in the past 53 years, only six players have accumulated more fWAR (Wins Above Replacement) than Soto before the age of 25. These players include legendary names like Mike Trout, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr, and Andruw Jones. All of them, except for Jones, are Hall of Famers, and the other four were first-ballot inductees. It’s an elite group, and Soto has already earned his place among them.

What makes Soto’s accomplishments even more impressive is the fact that he has been undervalued and overlooked by his teams. He has been moved along twice, treated like a burden, and seen only for what he can bring back in return. But the truth is, teams cannot find another Juan Soto. His skills, his talent, and his ability to impact a game are simply unmatched.

The situation with the San Diego Padres is understandable, though not entirely justifiable. Their TV deal fell through, severely affecting their revenue. Their owner passed away, and the new owners may not have the same passion for winning a World Series. However, it will likely be a long time before the Padres find another player like Soto. They may have high hopes for Fernando Tatis Jr., but he still needs to overcome some challenges.

The Washington Nationals, on the other hand, won a World Series with Soto but declined to keep him around. The pressure of watching him approach free agency and the fear of him leaving as a free agent became too much. Perhaps the idea of paying him what he is truly worth was even more horrifying. It’s a heartbreaking situation for fans who wait years, or even decades, to see a player like Soto play for their team every day, only to have him taken away.

The Nationals received a shortstop who can’t hit and a pitcher who struggles with control in return. The Padres acquired a couple of promising pitchers, but one already has shoulder problems. Are any of these teams truly better off? The pattern of recent World Series champions being broken up within a few seasons is a worrying sign for baseball. Ownership often decides that keeping these championship teams together is not worth the hassle. Within a decade, these once-relevant teams are now irrelevant.

The New York Yankees may not be able to keep Soto beyond this year, as they may be outbid in the winter. However, they recognized that even one season of having Soto on their team was worth it. Players reaching free agency should not be seen as a problem but rather an opportunity for teams to secure their talent and keep them around. The Nationals had the chance to do so with Soto, and many other teams have missed similar opportunities with other players.

Having a player like Soto on a team may not guarantee championships, but it significantly improves the chances. The Yankees, for example, may face challenges in their outfield and infield, and they rely heavily on the health of certain players. However, having Juan Soto on their roster is worth more than any number of lottery tickets they sent to San Diego. It’s unfortunate that such a rare view exists in today’s game, where great players are often seen as burdens rather than assets.

Juan Soto’s talent and potential are undeniable. As he continues to grow and mature in his career, he has the potential to become one of the greatest hitters in the history of the sport. Teams should recognize his value, cherish his presence, and do everything in their power to keep him around. Juan Soto is a once-in-a-generation player, and his impact on the game of baseball will be felt for years to come.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky @felsgate.bsky.social

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