Dave Martinez confident Nationals added enough protection for Juan Soto in the lineup

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Julius Long
·2 min read
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Martinez confident Nats added enough protection for Soto in the lineup originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Nationals hit the offseason market like an organization determined to rectify last season's botched title defense, which occurred despite returning the core of its 2019 World Series roster.

With spring training underway, manager Dave Martinez has begun the work to see that through. General manager Mike Rizzo added Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber, to a lineup that Martinez hopes will continue to be powered by the National League's leading slugger Trea Turner and the wonder kid from Santo Domingo, Juan Soto.

For a batter as prolific as the 22-year-old phenom, the only solution for pitchers in 2020 was to walk him, and by all accounts, it worked. Martinez was asked if he felt confident that the Nats added enough pieces in the offseason to protect their young star.

"I think so, but then again that's who he is," Martinez said. "Who wouldn't want to walk a Soto when he's on fire, which seems to be every day. At any given moment, he could hit a ball out."

After failing to ink a long-term deal with Soto this offseason, the Nationals signed the Dominican international to a one-year, $8.5 million deal, avoiding arbitration and keeping hopes for a long-term deal alive. The investment in his supporting cast is showing early signs of payoff, according to Martinez.

"I like the fact that we did go out and get a Josh Bell and a Kyle Schwarber and having Starlin [Castro] back healthy and Trea [Turner]," Martinez said. "Those guys are here already and I watched those guys hit today and they were playing pepper with the centerfield wall and it was impressive," Martinez said. 

Still, even with the additional weapons, Martinez knows pitchers will look to avoid Soto this year, even if the cost is higher.

"Pitchers face him and he's got to be ready to hit the pitch that he knows he can hit and not miss it," Martinez said.

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Washington
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NY Mets
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