Step1: Find A Superstar To Compliment Juan Soto
When the Nationals won the World Series in 2019, it was largely due to their superstars getting hot at the right time and taking over games. Anthony Rendon, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Juan Soto all had monster performances, with Soto, in particular, making his presence felt (three homers, 1.178 OPS against Houston).
In fact, it has become common for teams to build their rosters around multiple superstars, with the 2016 Cubs, 2017 Astros, 2018 Red Sox, and 2020 Dodgers standing out. Yet, it isn’t entirely necessary, with the 2015 Kansas City Royals and 2021 Atlanta Braves coming to mind.
Soto is the sole remaining superstar left on the Nationals (Strasburg is coming off his second straight season-ending surgery and will need to prove he can stay healthy) and needs reinforcement in the lineup.
For the Bengals, they have been fueled by the connection between Joe Burrow and Ja’marr Chase, with Burrow and Chase connecting for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. But it hasn’t just been them, with Trey Hendrickson anchoring the defense. Signed to a four-year deal in the off-season, Hendrickson posted 14 sacks and three forced fumbles in his first year with the team.
Washington is hoping Keibert Ruiz, who was acquired in the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner trade, lives up to his potential to become Soto’s running mate in the lineup.