In July of last year, Washington proposed a large-scale long-term extension contract to Juan Soto (25‧ San Diego), the team’s key hitter. Although each media has a different perspective, it is known that the total amount of money for 15 years is 440 million dollars (approximately 581.7 billion won). It was an enormous amount, surpassing the $426.5 million of Mike Trout (LA Angels), the highest ever in Major League Baseball.
However, Juan Soto’s agent, Scott Boras, refused. The reason was that the average annual salary was less than 30 million dollars, and a large part of the annual salary was concentrated in the back. When the papers he proposed were immediately rejected, Washington immediately took the next step. If you can’t catch Soto, it was a better choice to sell now, when the trade value is the best with a lot of time left until you qualify as a free agent (FA).
Soto changed his uniform in a big trade with San Diego. San Diego fans expected the league’s most patient, well-balanced player to lead the team to a World Series victory. As much as they robbed the farm and gave up all the prospects, San Diego also had to do its part to survive. But so far, my head is a bit tilted.
Soto, who made his major league debut in Washington in 2018, recorded a batting average of 0.291, an on-base percentage of 0.427, 119 homers, 358 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.966 in 565 games over five years. He was the best on-base machine in the league. In 2021, he picked up a whopping 145 walks alone. He had an unbreakable batting form in his natural forefront. However, after the transfer last year, the OPS fell to 0.778 in 52 games.
I thought it would get better this year, but the rebound is yet to come. In 35 games until the 8th (Korean time), it was a batting average of 0.220, an on-base percentage of 0.381, 5 home runs, 17 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.779. There is no difference in OPS from last year after the transfer. It is higher than the league average, and the difference between batting average and on-base percentage is significant, but he is definitely not a player who is satisfied with this level of performance. The San Diego batting lineup is also struggling with Soto’s ‘expected’ lower on-base percentage.
Soto still chooses his walks well. When he lines up, walks are number one in front. He also has a lower exit velocity than before, but it is still at a level that is not bad. However, no matter how fast his batting speed is, it is meaningless if there are too many ground balls. Soto’s grounder percentage is 49.1% for his career, but this year it has risen to 58.6%. He hardly ever gets the ball up and running. In addition, the bat misses on the lower course, which was not particularly weak in the past. Pitchers who caught the weak point continue to attack the course.스포츠토토
As a result, even though the walk rate is maintained, the number of strikeouts increases, which offsets this effect. Soto’s strikeout rate was only 14.2% in 2021, but has risen to 23.2% this year. He tolerates Yoo In-gu well, but it is natural for his batting average to drop as there are a lot of misses on balls that come into the zone. Some point out that he is not adapting to the pitch clock introduced this year as he is a player with a fairly long preparation movement.
He is recovering with a batting average of 0.333 and an on-base percentage of 0.455 in the last 7 games, but he needs to burn more to make up for his overall performance this season. However, in the previous three-game match against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the good trend was cut off once. He may be Soto at an important watershed.
Soto will become a free agent at the end of the 2024 season. He is a player who has already shown a lot, so he reserved a lot of money that will not interfere with his life. However, he is in trouble with his current record if he wants to break a large contract worth more than $ 440 million that he was offered in Washington. San Diego, which staked its life and death on the Soto trade, and Soto’s free agent all stood at a crossroads. At this rate, there is room for San Diego to reconsider Soto’s long-term contract.