Marveling at what Juan Soto has accomplished as a 22-year-old playing in his fourth major league campaign, Davey Martinez told reporters last weekend that he was impressed with how Soto performed. responded to the sale of the veterans club trade deadline on expiring contracts (and the year and a half of control left to Trea Turner before free agency), becoming a leader in the clubhouse and producing on the pitch despite upheaval in the nation’s capital.
“He’s been going through a period where a lot of his teammates have gone and gone, guys that he’s bonded with and bonded with,” Martinez explained, “[and] for a while he had a hard time, then he realized he had another group of young children that he could help. He’s been a teacher, he’s been a mentor, guys always ask him questions, he’s been amazing, and all of a sudden it turned into who he is again and that it plays the game as it is meant to be played.
“We’re sort of rebooting right in front of him and not a hint of unhappiness,” GM Mike Rizzo said, after kicking off the reboot by swapping Max Scherzer, Turner, Brad Hand, Yan Gomes, Daniel Hudson, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison, and Jon Lester for an assortment of youngsters ready for the major leagues (or near), some of whom finished the season with the Nats, “and I think you saw different, if at all possible, better equipment the second half of the season than he did in the first half of the season, and I think that says everything you need to know about him.
Soto appeared to face the consequences of a disappointing 2021 season for the Nationals as a very good team as he sat with agent Scott Boras and Nats batting coach Kevin Long (in Scherzer / Turner Nationals jerseys) in front row at Dodger Stadium this week watching former teammates Scherzer and Turner advance to the NLDS with a Wild Card victory over the Cardinals of Saint-Louis Wednesday night, and Scherzer and Turner both enjoyed the show of support.
“That’s how I’m going to describe it,” Scherzer said of Soto and Long showing up in LA to cheer on their friends. “When you win a World events you develop a friendship and bond that will last a lifetime. So for these two guys, K-Long and Soto to be there, it just shows you the kind of love it takes to be able to win a World Series, and it’s going to last forever.
“They enjoyed being here, watching us and cheering us on. They are linked to this because of Trea and me. I mean, it’s just a cool feeling. In baseball circles you are really very united, and having their support and presence here only adds to the experience.
“Yeah, I think that’s one of the coolest things that has happened in my career and is probably going to happen in my career,” Turner said of Soto and Long’s trip to Chavez Ravine, “ because I think, I don’t know, I think it’s enjoyed by a lot of people, but the conversation in our clubhouse was amazing, him and Kevin Long coming in, I didn’t know they were coming. And then be in the me and Max jerseys is even funnier and cooler. And he’s a special person and you see all the stats, but playing with him and interacting with him every day is a treat and he has a good career ahead of him.