In what may turn out to be one of the most significant deals in MLB history, the San Diego Padres have acquired 23-year-old superstar Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals.
Soto, who is only 23 years old, debuted in 2018 at the age of 19. He has been one of the league’s best hitters in the four-plus seasons since. In 565 career games, Soto has 199 homeruns, 108 doubles, 399 runs scored, 358 runs batted in and 38 stolen bases. He has 464 walks compared to 414 strikeouts. He boasts a batting average of .291, an on-base percentage of .427 and a slugging percentage of .538. It makes for an OPS of .966.
The outfielder has two more years of arbitration and will not reach free agency until 2025. Recently, the Nationals offered Soto a 15-year, $440 million deal, but he turned it down. That led Washington to believe he would not re-sign with the club when the time ultimately came, so they announced that he was on the trading block.
Full Details of Juan Soto’s Shocking Trade from Nationals to Padres
Along with Juan Soto, Washington is also sending first baseman Josh Bell to the Padres. Bell was a more traditional trade candidate, as he is a soon-to-be 30-year-old in the final year of his contract.
In return, San Diego is sending three of its top prospects – shortstop C.J. Abrams, starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore and outfielder Robert Hassell III – back to the Nationals. The deal also includes veteran first baseman Luke Voit and a pair of minor leaguers – outfielder James Wood and pitcher Jarlin Susana – heading east.
With Soto and Bell now in the fold, San Diego could soon have one of the best lineups in baseball. Superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. is likely to return from injury within the next few weeks. Meanwhile, third baseman Manny Machado has been one of the best hitters in baseball so far this season.
The Padres currently boast a 58-46 record, which has the team in second place behind the 69-33 Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. A division title may be out of reach, but one of the National League’s three Wild Card spots is almost a guarantee.