Juan Soto has tested positive for COVID-19 just hours before his Washington Nationals face the New York Yankees to open the 2020 MLB season. The young superstar outfielder's positive test is the kind of thing we should expect to happen often this season, as players are going to contract the coronavirus and be pulled from lineups at the last minute. This is almost certainly the new normal for all sports, not just baseball. Soto was tested two days ago and received the results on Thursday afternoon.
Soto will now miss two weeks if he doesn't have any complications from the virus. Hopefully he winds up being fine, but his absence could be devastating for the defending World Series champions. In a shortened, 60-game season, losing a star player could cost a team dearly, and Soto is a franchise cornerstone.
In 2019, Soto hit .282 with 34 home runs, 110 RBI an OPS of .949 and an fWAR of 4.8. He's one of the game's best young players and he came up big in the postseason as well. Now he's gone from the team's lineup for at least the next two weeks.
The Nationals can only hope the virus didn't spread beyond Soto. Another key bat being removed from the lineup could help push them out of contention before the season really gets going.
These are the things that have to be considered as we move forward with sports in 2020. Players will test positive for the virus and they could spread it to teammates. It's a dangerous game leagues are playing, but everyone has signed up for it. This is the new normal.