The Washington Nationals have announced the trade of superstar outfielder Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres. The Nationals' return package includes prospects LHP Mackenzie Gore, OF Robert Hassell III, SS C.J. Abrams, OF James Wood, RHP Jarlin Susana, and 1B Luke Voit.
San Diego first baseman Eric Hosmer was initially part of the Soto trade before invoking his limited no-trade clause and being traded to Boston for a prospect. The Padres replaced him with first baseman Luke Voit.
The Padres also received first baseman Josh Bell as part of the deal. Soto, the market's biggest name ahead of Tuesday's 6 p.m. ET trade deadline, became available in July after declining a 15-year, $440 million extension offer.
The talented 23-year-old Soto has emerged as one of the best hitters in baseball since making his big-league debut during the 2018 season. He hit .291/.427/.538 (160 OPS+) with 119 home runs in his career as of Tuesday. The two-time All-Star, whose early-career peers are almost all Hall of Famers, was a member of the Nationals' World Series-winning team in 2019.
Soto's exit comes at a time when the Nationals are dealing with a high level of turnover. This offseason, the team is expected to be sold to new ownership, signaling the end of an era.
Padres general manager A.J Preller said acquiring a player of Soto's caliber was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for his team.
"Ultimately, we're looking at it as three years, three pennant races with one of the best hitters, maybe the best hitter in the game," said Preller. "That's a long time. ... We'll have time to figure out down the road the long-term commitment.”
However, Jesse Rogers of ESPN said Soto would not last long with his new team.
“At the price, he'll command, the (New York) Yankees and (Los Angeles) Dodgers have to get involved. If the Padres aren't competing in 2024, then Preller can flip Soto again -- or if they are competing, revisit an extension at that point.”
The Padres, who made another big trade on Monday when they acquired All-Star closer Jose Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers, are currently in the National League wild-card position, and the Soto trade increased their chances of making the playoffs in 2022 by more than 11 percent.
Soto's final game as a Washington player was last Monday, where his only hit was a home run. He went 1-1 with three walks, two runs scored, and one RBI on the night. He stole his sixth base of the season after his final walk of the eighth inning.
"I feel good where I'm at,'' Soto said. "I understand it's a business and they need to do whatever they need to do. I'm just another player, another employee here like [former teammate Ryan Zimmerman] used to say.''
The Mets won the game 7-3, and Soto received loud applause throughout the night.
"It means a lot,'' Soto said. "It kind of feels weird, too, because nothing's happened yet. We're still waiting. It's kind of cool at the same time, but it's kind of weird, too.''
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