Juan Soto’s trade: Padres agrees to star deal before deadline, Citizens get five prospects in return

The Washington Nationals are agreeing to exchange quarterback Juan Soto for the San Diego Padres, according to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ. Soto, the biggest name on the market ahead of Tuesday’s 6pm EST trading deadline, was made available in July after declining an offer of a 15-year extension worth $440 million. The Padres will also acquire Nationals first baseman Josh Bell in the deal, and the Nationals will receive a package under the Mackenzie Gore title, defensive midfielder Robert Hassell III and Shortstop CJ Abrams.

San Diego’s first businessman, Eric Hosmer, was also originally scheduled to fly to the capital, although he had a no-trade clause and did not agree to move to Washington. With Hosmer out of the equation, here’s what the deal looks like (although it may change again before it becomes official):

take Badris

Citizen acquisition

  • LHP Mackenzie Gor
  • Robert Hassell III
  • SS CJ Abrams
  • James Wood
  • RHB Garlin Susanna

The Cardinals and the Dodgers were seen as the other finalists for Soto, but they seemed to outdo the San Diego bid.

Soto, 23, will have two more years of team control left after this season. Since his first major league appearance during the 2018 season, he has emerged as one of the best hitters in baseball. With his entry on Tuesday, he hit .291/.427/.538 (160 OPS+) with 119 home runs for his career. A two-time All-Star, Soto was part of the 2019 World Championship winning national club.

Why are citizens trading Juan Soto?

Because it looks flashy at $440 million, it’s worth noting that the Nationals’ extension bid will have an average annual value of $29.3 million. According to Cot’s Contracts, this would have topped 20 in the majors, an unfavorable rating for a player in his youth and a solid track record. In fact, Soto’s AAV wasn’t the highest on the active Nationals list, with right-handed Stephen Strasbourg averaging $35 million per season.

Soto is the latest star to leave the national team, joining an impressive roster that includes Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Tria Turner and Max Scherzer – the last two of whom were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on deadline last year.

Soto’s departure comes at a time when the Nationals has seen significant turnover. The franchise is expected to complete a sale of new ownership this off-season, marking the end of an era. The Lerner family has previously owned the team since 2006, when real estate developer Ted Lerner purchased the club from Major League Baseball for $450 million. Ted later transferred ownership to his son Mark in 2018.

Nats also moves on from Bell, the impending free agent. Bell appears to be one of the other better hitters available on the market. In 103 games for the Nationals this season, he’s hit .301/.384/.493 (152 OPS+) with 14 home runs and about as many walks as hits. Bell represents a clear upgrade over Hosmer for Padres.

Who surrenders San Diego?

The return of the national team is a mixture of talent and great prospects. Abrams, 21, is a fast hitting .232/.285/.320 (77 OPS+) quarterback with 23 more strokes than a walk and seven extra strokes in 139 Big League games. His lackluster performance must be seen with the added context that he missed most of last season, appearing in just 152 professional games overall. For intelligence, Abrams has actually played more in the big league games than he has at the Double- or Triple-A level. It was ranked as the 10th best prospect by CBS Sports as spring enters based on the belief it will be fine in the long run.

Gore, 23, is currently on the list of those with an elbow problem. He’s beaten a clear case of yips to post a 4.50 ERA (84 ERA+) and 1.95 to walk ratio in 70 runs this season, with most of those coming in as beginners. Gore used to be considered one of the top potential players in the game, but his aforementioned struggles dwindled his credit. His elbow problem doesn’t help matters either.

Hassell, 20, was the eighth pick in the 2020 draft. He’s hit .299/.379/.467 in 75 top-level games this season. He is seen as having a good hit tool, but scouts have long wanted to see him make more use of his raw power. It is also unclear whether he will be able to stay in the center of the field for long.

Wood, 19, was San Diego’s second-round pick in the 2021 draft. He’s listed at 6-foot-7 and has massive raw power and better speed than you’d expect from someone of this size. He fell back on the draft due to evaluators’ concerns about his swing and failure tendencies. Encouragingly, in 50 games this season, he has hit him in less than 20 percent of his trips to the plate.

Susanna, 18, is a big right-hander who has spent the season in the complex league. He’s appeared eight times, amassing a 2.45 ERA and 4.00 walking strike percentage. He has a big fast ball and a promising ball.

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