Juan Soto commerce takes Padres-Dodgers rivalry to new stage

By Pedro Moura
FOX Sports activities MLB Author

A.J. Preller, baseball’s most aggressive basic supervisor, has traded for the game’s greatest accessible expertise, possibly ever. Juan Soto, the 23-year-old, power-hitting, walk-taking, charismatic famous person, grew to become a San Diego Padre on Tuesday.

For the subsequent three pennant races, the Padres will function a lineup fronted by Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. And, on this similar deal, San Diego added one other hitter, first baseman Josh Bell, who has been just about nearly as good as Soto this season. 

It appears just like the Padres could have acquired the 2 greatest place gamers dealt forward of this deadline.

How Soto strengthens Padres lineup and dynamic

How Soto strengthens Padres lineup and dynamic

Former MLB participant and present Padres broadcaster Tony Gwynn Jr. joins Colin Cowherd to interrupt down the Juan Soto commerce.

To take action, the Padres surrendered a prospect package deal that might hinder their probabilities to win past 2024, when Soto is slated to change into a free agent. However this deal just isn’t about 2025 — it is about now. 

The Padres at the moment stand 12 video games again of the Dodgers, baseball’s greatest staff, within the Nationwide League West. It is unlikely they’ll overtake Los Angeles. This commerce, although, solidifies the Padres as a wild-card membership that might wreak havoc in October. It additionally fuels San Diego for one more run on the Dodgers in 2023. 

These groups regarded like budding rivals a pair years in the past. San Francisco’s shock 2021 rise to the highest of the division — and San Diego’s collapse — scuttled that. However the Giants have regressed in 2022, and the Padres once more seem like the staff with the perfect likelihood to problem the Dodgers. Along with the Padres’ commerce for nearer Josh Hader on Monday, this deal improves their instant probabilities like nothing else might.

In fact, it comes at a outstanding long-term price: 5 prospects, at the very least 4 of whom are good bets to change into large leaguers, in addition to veteran first baseman Luke Voit.

Outfielder Robert Hassell III, 20, was the eighth total choose two years in the past. Shortstop C.J. Abrams, 21, was the sixth total choose three years in the past. Left-hander Mackenzie Gore, 23, was the third total choose 5 years in the past. Outfielder James Wooden, 19, was a second rounder final 12 months. Proper-hander Jarlin Susana, 18, signed with the Padres seven months in the past for $1.7 million.

The Nationals obtained an attention-grabbing stability of high quality and amount on this commerce. Most deadline offers function a prize prospect and a few notably lesser skills.

Washington’s package deal is much less top-heavy, with nobody participant hovering above the remainder. For instance, Cincinnati obtained a comparable prime expertise in trade for Luis Castillo alone. However the Nationals’ package deal is kind of deep. It is unlikely that any of them will method Soto’s excellence, however all 5 gamers they’re receiving are younger, legit prospects.

Gore and Abrams are already major-leaguers; the opposite three have been rated as consensus prime 10 Padres prospects. Susana is the least-regarded, however he’s a 6-foot-6, 235-pound arduous thrower who’s dominating in his first go at stateside baseball within the Arizona Advanced League.

At first, the Padres included veteran Eric Hosmer within the commerce, too. However he used his no-trade clause to veto his inclusion; they’re reportedly sending him as a substitute to Boston. Hosmer was within the deal much less as a participant and extra as a contract, as he’s owed roughly $46 million over the subsequent three-plus seasons.

That San Diego wanted to deal him now underscores the potential points they face by including one other high-priced participant. The Padres must be counseled for spending greater than all their smaller-market friends, however it’s unclear for lengthy how they’ll afford to take action. All indications are that they wish to stay below the luxury-tax threshold. With Soto on account of make one thing approaching $50 million over the subsequent two seasons, that can be troublesome. 

That, and the big price of any extension, was at all times the potential hold-up with a Soto to San Diego commerce. All-Star Padres starter Joe Musgrove stated as a lot hours after he discovered that Washington was keen to commerce him. He referred to as the idea “incredible” however thought-about the fact.

“I know we have a lot of big contracts out there,” he stated. “After seeing him turn down $440 million, I’m not sure what that’s gonna look like if he does come to San Diego.”

This was two weeks in the past, earlier than Musgrove signed a giant contract of his personal — a $100-million, five-year pact. It’s a crowded monetary image. But it surely’s not crowded sufficient to bitter any San Diego followers’ emotions on this commerce, certainly. Probably the most proficient gamers the game has ever seen, on the cusp of his prime, is a Padre, for this 12 months and at the very least two extra.

If they’ll sometime signal him to a long-term contract, even higher. 

The Padres final made it to the World Sequence in 1998. The Yankees swept them, securing the championship on Oct. 21.

4 days later, Soto was born. His lifetime is aware of no San Diego success.

The Padres’ objective, clearly, is for him to finish their drought.

Pedro Moura is the nationwide baseball author for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand lined the Dodgers for 3 seasons for The Athletic and, earlier than that, the Angels and Dodgers for 5 seasons for the Orange County Register and L.A. Instances. Extra beforehand, he lined his alma mater, USC, for ESPNLosAngeles.com. The son of Brazilian immigrants, he grew up within the Southern California suburbs. His first e-book, “How to Beat a Broken Game,” got here out this spring. Comply with him on Twitter @pedromoura.

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