Before Thursday’s MLB trade deadline, the San Diego Padres and the Washington Nationals reached an agreement to deal star right fielder Juan Soto and Josh Bell, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Washington would receive shortstop C.J. Abrams, pitcher MacKenzie Gore, outfielders Robert Hassell III, James Wood, and pitcher Jarlin Susana in addition to another major leaguer.
Eric Hosmer might travel to Washington under the agreement, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post:
Hosmer is “not pleased” about being moved to the Nationals, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, which may encourage the Nationals to persuade him to waive his no-trade clause:
The main storyline for the Nationals during their very quick decline after winning the 2019 World Series was the status of Soto’s contract. When he becomes a free agent in 2025, the two-time All-Star might become the first player in MLB history to sign a $500 million contract.
Trea Turner was moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers before he could enter the open market, while Washington lost Bryce Harper to free agency. The conventional belief was that the Nats simply couldn’t let Soto walk away since he is so good and young.
That changed on July 16, when Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic claimed that the 23-year-old was being offered in a trade. Rosenthal claims that Washington made the decision after Soto turned down a 15-year, $440 million offer.
Soto’s $29.3 million salary would have been less than the average pay for players like Mike Trout ($35.5 million), Gerrit Cole ($36 million), Francisco Lindor ($34.1 million), Corey Seager ($32.5 million), and Mookie Betts ($30.4 million), among others, even though that would have been the largest contract in MLB history in terms of overall value.
Since Stephen Strasburg has a seven-year deal for $35 million per year through 2026, Soto would not have even surpassed him as the highest-paid player on the Nationals.
The nation’s capital experienced a mixture of resignation and outrage in response to Rosenthal’s article.
Soto’s quick transfer is justifiable in part because it would allow the Nationals to at least maximise their return.
Due to the fact that they each only had one more year of team control, the Cleveland Guardians and Boston Red Sox were forced to accept far less money in exchange for Lindor and Betts, respectively. Soto will be a part of San Diego’s roster for at least two more seasons, and having an extra year to negotiate a contract extension can be advantageous.
This came close to becoming new territory.
As much as this aids in Washington’s recovery, re-signing Soto certainly would have been more beneficial. It would have also built up a lot of goodwill among the supporters, who have even less motivation to stick with the team during such a dry spell.
Juan Soto to Padres; C.J. Abrams to Washington Nationals
Nearly no price was too expensive for San Diego to complete this trade.
According to Baseball Reference, Soto has a lifetime slash line of.291/.427/.538 along with a.966 OPS and a 158 OPS+. Following are the five athletes with scores that most closely match Soto’s through his age-22 season: Mickey Mantle, Bryce Harper, Miguel Cabrera, Frank Robinson, and Mike Trout.
With a slugging percentage of.517 and 22 home runs in 2018, Soto tore the cover off the ball as a rookie and hasn’t stopped since. There is no reason to believe that won’t be the case.
Trout is the best illustration of how one player can only significantly increase the potential of his squad. The Padres aren’t suddenly the favourites to win the World Series as a result of this deal.
But you can’t really blame San Diego fans for getting a little too excited when they predict how the team will fare now that Soto is a part of it.
The Padres may also attempt to extend the contracts of their top three players through at least 2028. That is presuming Soto gets a new deal and Manny Machado doesn’t choose to end his 10-year, $300 million deal.
The Padres were perhaps one of MLB’s most nondescript clubs for many years. They weren’t always successful, and they weren’t particularly unsuccessful.
Eric Show has more victories as a pitcher than any other pitcher in team history, and Nate Colbert leads the league in home runs for the franchise. With the Padres as their primary team, only Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
San Diego has made a serious attempt to repair its image, though. Hosmer’s signing in 2018 didn’t exactly pan out, but it heralded a new era in which the Padres were willing to invest in young talent. A year after Machado’s arrival, Fernando Tatis Jr. signed a 14-year, $340 million agreement.
The signing of Soto is consistent with general manager A.J. Preller’s strategy and gives San Diego the opportunity to own the finest young hitting combo in MLB.