Agent Scott Boras ramped up the tension of the frosty relationship between the Washington Nationals and star outfielder Juan Soto by ripping the club and Major League Baseball for a lack of a charter flight to get the 23-year-old to Los Angeles.
According to Boras, Soto didn’t arrive until early Monday morning, not leaving much time for sleep before All-Star Game off-day responsibilities. Soto also won the Home Run Derby on Monday night despite the red-eye.
The Nationals played the Braves in Atlanta on Sunday and Soto had to make his own arrangements to get to Los Angeles.
“All I know here is that the Atlanta Braves and Juan Soto played a game (Sunday),” Boras told Sports Illustrated. “The Atlanta Braves arrived here 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.”
Soto is the lone All-Star for the Nationals, who are a major league-worst 31-63 at the break.
The Nationals reportedly declined comment when asked about the situation by SI.
Boras said he could not charter a plane because it would be a violation of agent ethics and behavior.
Soto recently turned down a 15-year, $440 million deal, according to reports. Though he has 2 1/2 seasons left before he can become a free agent, Washington is believed to be ready to shop Soto to other teams.
Oakland Athletics right-hander Paul Blackburn is his team’s lone All-Star representative and the club didn’t charter his flight. He said he caught a ride on the Houston Astros’ charter flight. The lowly A’s (32-61) completed a series in Houston on Sunday.
“It’s awesome. It shows that, within baseball, it’s kind of like a brotherhood,” Blackburn told Fox26 in Houston. “Everyone respects each other and tries to help each other out. So I’m greatly appreciative for their organization and letting me tag along over here.”
The All-Star Game is Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
–Field Level Media