And the winner of the Juan Soto sweepstakes is the San Diego Padres.
The 23-year-old celebrity was traded together with star first baseman Josh Bell by the Washington Nationals to the Padres on Tuesday morning about six hours earlier than the commerce deadline, based on a number of folks with information of the deal.
The Dodgers, who had been thought-about one in every of favorites to land Soto together with the Padres and Cardinals, now must face Soto as a division opponent.
Soto didn’t come low cost. The Padres are sending again not less than 5 high prospects to the Nationals: left-handed beginning pitcher MacKenzie Gore, right-hander Jarlin Susana, shortstop C.J. Abrams and outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wooden. Veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer may also additionally headed to Washington, though the Nationals are on his no-trade checklist.
However, Soto is the sort of generational expertise hardly ever accessible this time of yr, a two-time All-Star and 2020 Nationwide League batting champion who will probably be beneath group management not solely this yr however for the next two seasons as nicely.
A month in the past, Soto appeared unlikely to maneuver, even with the Nationals floundering in final place within the midst of a rebuild.
Although negotiations between Soto and the Nationals on a possible contract extension hadn’t gained traction, common supervisor Mike Rizzo nonetheless went on the file in June saying Soto wouldn’t be moved earlier than the commerce deadline.
However then, circumstances modified.
Soto reportedly rejected a 14-year, $440-million provide from the group, and the membership let or not it’s identified it will begin listening to commerce affords. Hypothesis about the place Soto may land engulfed the game
A local of the Dominican Republic who debuted as a 19-year-old in 2018, Soto shortly established himself as one of many premier offensive threats within the sport.
In 2018, he hit .292 with a .923 on-base-plus-slugging proportion, 22 house runs and 70 RBIs to complete second in NL rookie-of-the-year voting.
He was a top-10 finisher in MVP voting in 2019, batting .282 with a .949 OPS, 34 house runs and 110 RBIs to assist the Nationals win the World Collection.
Within the pandemic-shortened 2020 marketing campaign, Soto gained the NL batting title with a .351 common and added 13 house runs and 37 RBIs to assert his first Silver Slugger award. He completed fifth in MVP voting.
Final yr he hit .313 with a serious league-best .465 on-base-percentage, incomes his first All-Star choice and ending second for MVP behind Bryce Harper.
Bell is a productive hitter in his personal proper, a switch-hitter who’s batting .301 with 14 house runs and 57 RBIs.