Describing it as the biggest deal in this year’s trade deadline is short. With Soto in control of the team through the 2024 season, Padres could host him for three playoff races, giving them a lineup built around Soto, Fernando Tates Jr., Manny Machado and first baseman Josh Bell, who the Citizens teamed up with Soto in the move.
From now on, DC is left to watch another local cornerstone leave the club. Bryce Harper, who once won the MVP award with the Nationals, left for Philadelphia after the 2018 season. One of the World Series champions, Anthony Rendon, joined the Los Angeles Angels shortly after that race. And last summer, the team sent Tria Turner and Max Scherzer to the Los Angeles Dodgers, to begin a rebuilding process that general manager Mike Rizzo believes took a step forward on Tuesday.
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Yes, Soto and Bell trades were a hit: short-range CJ Abrams, left-handed bowler Mackenzie Gore, defensive players Robert Hassell III and James Wood, first base hitter/designated hitter Luke Voight and right-handed bowler Jarleen Susanna. But there’s no replacement for Soto or what he’s meant for the establishment since he debuted at 19 in 2018. When the Nationals stumbled last, they were selling a quick reboot around Soto, a once in a generation player and one of the few reasons to watch this summer.
Could the Nats have avoided trading Juan Soto? Your questions have been answered.
Without it, though, Citizens rely on developing unproven but highly interconnected players. This is actually the end of the mega deal.
In recent days, San Diego has been in a mix of Sotos along with the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. But by Tuesday morning, Padres was a clear front-runner with Soto and Bale in an integrated deal.
Sfriluga: The Juan Soto deal is heartbreaking. Now hope can begin.
This ends Soto’s four-year career with the Nationals, the team he signed as a teenager outside the Dominican Republic in 2015. Soto enjoyed that stint with a World Championship ring, a National League title, two Silvers for batting game, and two trophies. The top five MVP voting and a pair of all-stars. In July, he won the Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium, adding to his resume that it should belong to a middle-aged star, not someone who can’t rent a car without a minor’s fee.
So decorated and very young, Soto follows the statistical trails of all-time players such as Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Trout. Soto pairs strength and the ability to connect with the discipline of plates from another world. That was why he demanded such a big return from Padres. Baseball writers once took a break comparing him to Ted Williams, one of the best hitters ever.
But it was his enduring dominance that complicated his future in Washington. For a long time now, Soto has been determined to get access to free agency after the 2024 season, which is the only way to see how the open market will appreciate him. However, the Nationals made efforts to sign him on a long-term extension – a goal that became even more pressing after the club began rebuilding last summer, bringing in eight veteran players versus 12 untested players.
MLB Trade Deadline Tracker
First, there was a 13-year contract offer worth $350 million to Soto in November. Then Washington raised the numbers in May, then increased in 15 years and $440 million a month earlier. Soto did not accept, and felt he was worth more than an average annual value of $29.3 million. On July 16, it was announced that bid – the largest in MLB history by total contract value – along with citizens’ intentions to hear Soto’s trade shows before the deadline.
Without an extension, and with Soto’s value increasing that he would be in trade talks over the winter, the front office resigned to do what had once seemed out of the question. Juan Soto deal? Deal the player with some of the biggest hits in the club’s history – Josh Hader’s green light single on the NL wild-card game; Homer scoring points from Clayton Kershaw in Game 5 of the NL Division Series; Towering shots against Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in the World Championships – while his best years could be in front of him, not behind?
On July 1, in an interview on 106.7, Rizzo was asked about Soto’s possible trade. He was defiant, saying the Nationals wouldn’t be shopping for their best player, which was one of the few reasons to come to the field. Then everything changed 15 years later and the $440 million fell. Money often has this effect.
Soto’s journey didn’t start when he debuted at Nationals Park at the age of 19. It didn’t start at the club’s academy in the Dominican Republic, where he was spending extra hours at Rosetta Stone to perfect his English. It didn’t start when the team first spotted him as a left-handed bowler who could hit quite a bit.
For Soto, it all began in the living room of Santo Domingo, where his father threw the bottle caps the little boy had hit on the walls. He wanted it to be Mane Ramirez or Robinson Kano. In his long days on the playground, he imitated Kano’s big swing, while the other kids nicknamed him “Little Ruby”. Baseball is a common tradition in their country. So, too, she dreams of major league stardom.
Those dreams took Soto to Washington. About America in a national costume; To the tops of the world championship and the depths of rebuilding. Then, they’ll take him to San Diego, where a new fan base will be attached to each of his rackets. Soto has always been the kind of player you could miss. Trading it, then, means DC will miss out on a lot.
Barry Svrluga contributed to this updated report.