One big reason why Juan Soto will want to sign with the Phillies in free agency

Juan Soto may look to a team with familiarity when he is a free agent, and with hitting coach Kevin Long on the staff, the Phillies offer just that.
Apr 1, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Juan Soto against the Arizona
Apr 1, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Juan Soto against the Arizona / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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We’re only seven games into the season, but it's always a good time to look ahead at potential free agents who the Phillies may be able to lure to Philadelphia.

Especially when it’s someone like Juan Soto.

The superstar is on his third team in four years, on a one-year, $31 million contract with the New York Yankees, before he hits free agency this offseason. He will most definitely be one of the most highly sought-after free agents in baseball history.

At 25 years old, Soto has already won a World Series, has 161 career home runs, 487 career RBI, and 778 career hits, all in seven seasons. The sky is the limit for Soto, and the entire league would love the chance to make a run at him.

What we don’t know yet is what Juan Soto will be looking for when he is being courted in free agency?

Does he want to win more championships? Is he looking for a big market team? Maybe he’s keen on nice weather year-round? Or maybe he wants familiarity and a place he can call home.

The Phillies might be able to offer Juan Soto a feeling of home

As reported by The Athletic's Brittany Ghiroli, in 2022, when Juan Soto was still with the Washington Nationals, he felt the loss of one of his most trusted partners, hitting coach Kevin Long (subscription required). Long was replaced by Darnell Coles and multiple team sources said that it simply just wasn’t a good fit for Soto.

During his five-year stint with the Nationals and Long, Soto slashed .291/.427/.538 for an OPS of .966, 199 home runs, 358 RBI, and 569 hits.  

Long has been with the Phillies as their hitting coach since the 2022 season and has had some terrific success. The popular coach clearly has a great reputation and a lasting impression on the players he works with. The current Phillies already have a few high-profile players who were coached by Long in the past and chose the Phillies in free agency. Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber were all one-time Washington Nationals coached by Long.

Not to mention, soon-to-be free agent Soto also happened to play with those same three former Nationals players.

Familiarity and comfortability are enticing reasons to gravitate to a particular team when deciding where to play. If the Phillies are earnest about taking a crack at the young superstar and offer a competitive contract, they have to be taken as serious contenders in the Juan Soto sweepstakes.

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