Nats asked the Braves if Soto could fly to the All-Star Game
De Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, used the fact that his client flew commercially as a jab at the Nationals. He detailed Soto’s experience compared to that of the Braves while speaking to Samantha Apstein of Sports Illustrated.
“All I know here is that the Atlanta Braves and Juan Soto played a game yesterday. The Atlanta Braves got here five hours earlier than Juan Soto. 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 Major League Baseball doesn’t didn’t care and that’s something the Washington Nationals didn’t care for.”
The ordeal came a day after reports surfaced that Soto turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract extension offer from the Nationals. Subsequently, the Nationals are now considering trade proposals for Soto before the August 2 trade deadline.
Soto made headlines during the All-Star Game festivities. The 23-year-old and his agent have made the rounds to express their frustration over contract talks being leaked, presumably by the team.
Just as the Nationals seem to have drawn a line by looking to trade their star player, Boras is doing the same by pointing the finger at the Nationals.
In this case, Soto was the Nationals’ only All-Star Game representative. A Nationals spokesperson pointed out to SI that not all teams fly their All-Stars on charters. The Oakland Athletics did not charter pitcher Paul Blackburn. Instead, Blackburn nabbed a charter with the Houston Astros.
The Braves were in DC for their last streak before the All-Star break. However, the Braves sent six players. As Heyman pointed out, a number of team officials and media flew with the players.
Any difficulties in commercial flight did not negatively affect Soto much. He went on to fight his way to winning the Home Run Derby on Monday, becoming the second-youngest Derby champion.
Moments after winning the Derby, Soto was asked about his future. At that point, he refused to feed off the drama, saying, “Right now, I’m not even thinking about it. I am a champion and I will be a champion for Nationals.
As for Boras, unlike ESPN’s Buster Olney claim, the agent could not charter a private flight for his client Soto. Agents are not allowed to give gifts that cost more than $500 to their clients. Boras pointed out in the initial IS report that he allegedly broke rules governing the behavior of officers.