The Washington Nationals decided to overhaul their team at the trade deadline rather than wait until the winter. General Manager Mike Rizzo made several changes that saw marquee players from the 2019 World Series-winning team depart.
Trea Turner and Max Scherzer were part of a packaged deal heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kyle Schwarber had to pack his bags as the All-Star was part of a trade that sent him to the Boston Red Sox.
Rizzo wasn't done on trade deadline day as they offloaded Jon Lester to the St. Louis Cardinals. Meanwhile, Yan Gomes and Josh Harrison went to the Oakland Athletics.
After all the chaos from the fire sale, one of the few recognizable faces remaining on the Nationals was Juan Soto. Davey Martinez spoke to the media Friday, where the skipper shared a conversation he had with the 22-year-old in Philadelphia.
"I told him he just has to keep his head up and keep playing. He's the guy now that this organization is going to follow," Martinez said. "So you just got to keep going out there and keep grinding his at-bats like he always does and play good defense, run the bases the way he's supposed to run them and stay positive. And he understands that."
The Nationals will eventually have to extend their young superstar, who will be the team leader from now on. Rizzo also touched on this front, stating that the team would be "remiss" if they don't work out a contract extension with Soto.
"Soto is a benchmark type of player. He's the core of our team, and we would be remiss if we didn't aggressively try and sign him long-term," Rizzo said. "I think it's an important part of what our plan is and, like I said, when this trading class and the last couple of draft classes and trading seasons come together, these people will be the core of that world championship caliber club with Juan Soto as our linchpin. He's as important a part of our franchise as anybody."