Slugger Juan Soto delivered a farewell home run during his final appearance as a member of the Washington Nationals earlier this month and then posted a touching tribute to the organization and its fans after he was sent to the San Diego Padres in a blockbuster trade.
The 23-year-old who reportedly rejected a 15-year, $440 million contract extension proposal from the Nationals before the trade and who earned a pair of All-Star nods and a World Series ring with the franchise won’t have to wait long to see old friends. The Padres open a three-game series against Washington at Nationals Park on Friday evening.
“It’s going to be pretty emotional,” Soto said about playing in front of Washington fans and former teammates so soon after the deal, per AJ Cassavell of the MLB website. “I feel excited to go back and see those guys again. … I’ve done everything for that team. Whatever I did, I was thinking of that team and the fans. If they appreciate it, I will always be glad. If they don’t, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Soto can’t afford to get too swept up in his emotions this weekend. He and the Padres began Friday trailing the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West standings by an incredible 16 games, and San Diego is battling with the likes of the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants over wild-card berths.