It turns out that Oakland Athletics star Paul Blackburn wasn't the only 2022 MLB All-Star to be hung out to dry in terms of travel plans to the Midsummer Classic. Washington Nationals star Juan Soto, who is the biggest talking point in MLB right now, was forced to fly commercial to Los Angeles for the 2022 MLB All-Star Game, according to agent Scott Boras. Via Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein, Boras had some fiery comments for the Nationals organization after the team failed to provide a charter flight for the superstar outfielder, causing him to land in Los Angeles early in the morning before competing in the Home Run Derby.
Scott Boras questions Nats after they didn't charter flight for Juan Soto to ASG. https://t.co/Sa42rILNEa pic.twitter.com/sNiu3ZxX3P
— theScore (@theScore) July 20, 2022
Boras was rightfully furious with the Nationals, seemingly taking their lack of accommodations as a sign of disrespect to the superstar, with whom contract negotiations over a potential record-setting deal appear to be going south.
“All I know here is that the Atlanta Braves and Juan Soto played a game (Sunday). The Atlanta Braves arrived here five hours earlier than Juan Soto did. You know why? Because their team chartered a plane,” Boras told Apstein. “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.”
Boras then clarified that he would have chartered Soto a flight himself, however, that would be a violation of the rules between players and agents.
The Oakland A's infamously failed to charter a plane for Paul Blackburn to get to the All-Star Game following the Athletics' series in Houston. Fortunately, the kind-hearted Astros offered Blackburn a seat on their plane.
Soto received no such goodwill, perhaps because the Braves may have unaware that he hadn't been chartered a flight, and was thus made to fly commercial. It certainly sounds like a “first-world problem,” but it's these little things that can go a long way toward souring a relationship between a player and a ballclub.
Soto recently stated that he “doesn't know who to trust” amid the back and forth nature of the rumors surrounding his contract or a potential trade, and the Nationals' inaction in getting him to the All-Star Game properly could play a role in any decision he makes.