August 17, 2022

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Soto shakes off commerce speak, takes HR Derby crown

The San Diego Padres have acquired celebrity outfielder Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell...

The San Diego Padres have acquired celebrity outfielder Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals, the groups introduced Tuesday.

The worth for the Padres is much from low cost. The return package deal going to the Nationals contains prospects in left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore, outfielder Robert Hassell III, shortstop C.J. Abrams, outfielder James Wooden and right-handed pitcher Jarlin Susana. Washington additionally will get veteran first baseman/designated hitter Luke Voit.

The Padres on Tuesday additionally executed an extra deal earlier than the commerce deadline, buying third baseman/utility man Brandon Drury from the Cincinnati Reds in alternate for shortstop prospect Victor Acosta, it was introduced.


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The unique iteration of the take care of the Nationals couldn’t be executed after San Diego first baseman Eric Hosmer, sources mentioned, refused to take away Washington from his no-trade listing. He as an alternative was later shipped by the Padres to the Boston Purple Sox.

Soto, a two-time All-Star who gained this yr’s Residence Run Derby, enriches the Padres as a traditionally proficient 23-year-old hitter whose early-career friends are virtually all Corridor of Famers. He’ll profit enormously from becoming a member of shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and third baseman Manny Machado close to the highest of the Padres’ lineup.

“We really feel like we’re going to place up a present and it’s going to be actually enjoyable to observe,” mentioned Tatis, who’s near coming back from a damaged left wrist and could possibly be 10 days to 2 weeks away from being added to the energetic roster.

Tatis has identified Soto since they have been youngsters within the Dominican Republic.

“Now we have the expertise,” Tatis mentioned of a doable World Sequence run. “We undoubtedly have the expertise, and we have now the workforce to do it. Now it’s as much as us to place the work on the market and make it occur.”

The trail from Soto turning down a current 15-year, $440 million contract provide from the Nationals to a take care of the Padres was fast and linear. The Nationals didn’t need to increase their provide. San Diego, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals matched up finest with Washington’s want for younger expertise.

In Good Firm

Juan Soto, who was traded to the Padres on Tuesday, is second solely to Corridor of Famer Ted Williams in on-base proportion via his age-23 season throughout the trendy period (since 1900).

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1939-42 Ted Williams .481 Sure
2018-22 Juan Soto .427 ?
1932-35 Arky Vaughan .422 Sure
1925-31 Jimmie Foxx .421 Sure
1926-32 Mel Ott .421 Sure
>>Min. 2,000 plate appearances
“We set the bar very, very excessive, and one workforce exceeded it, and that’s the deal we made,” Washington common supervisor Mike Rizzo mentioned. “Props to the San Diego Padres. They’re not afraid, and possession’s not afraid and A.J. Preller’s not afraid, and so they have been aggressive — and we made a deal that you simply name historic.”

The groups and observers alike regarded the chance to commerce for a participant of Soto’s caliber as a once-in-a-generation occasion, although most groups didn’t have the requisite expertise to enter the fray for a star who doesn’t attain free company till after the 2024 season.

“Finally, we’re taking a look at it as three years, three pennant races with among the finest hitters, perhaps one of the best hitter within the recreation,” mentioned Preller, the Padres’ common supervisor. “That’s a very long time. … We’ll have time to determine down the street the long-term dedication.

“You’re speaking a few 23-year-old participant who gained a World Sequence, gained a batting title, is a perennial MVP candidate, at that age. I feel we have been on the identical web page what it meant for our franchise.”

As alluring because the membership management may be to the Padres, what issues most is what Soto does finest: hit. And he does that about in addition to anybody within the recreation. Whereas Soto’s batting common this season of .246 is nicely beneath his .291 profession common, he leads the foremost leagues in walks — he’s the one energetic MLB participant to have extra walks than strikeouts in his profession — and is among the many leaders in dwelling runs (21).

He is also coming off an enormous July, when he hit .315/.495/.616 with six dwelling runs.

“The ambiance right here is that they need to win, and never simply go to the playoffs however win a World Sequence,” mentioned All-Star nearer Josh Hader, who was obtained by San Diego on Monday in one other large take care of the Milwaukee Brewers. “That’s a contagious ambiance to be part of.”

In Soto, the Padres obtain a hitter with an unusual eye and energy — the golden mixture that would lead a person to show down $440 million. Since debuting at age 19, Soto has been a revelatory hitter, slashing .291/.426/.537 with 119 dwelling runs, 358 RBIs, 464 walks and 414 strikeouts.

San Diego additionally will get much-needed assist on the right-field spot, the place they’ve gotten simply three dwelling runs this season.

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Soto helped lead the Nationals to their first championship in 2019, and at the same time as Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer and Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon left through free company or trades, Soto remained in Washington, anticipated to hold the mantle for the group.

Soto thanked the workforce in a sequence of tweets early Wednesday morning, writing, “I’ll at all times really feel honored to have been a Nationwide.”

Bell is hitting a career-high .301 with 14 dwelling runs and 57 RBIs in his second season with the Nationals. He spent his first 5 MLB seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, getting an All-Star nod in 2019, and he has a profession .266 batting common with 127 dwelling runs and 454 RBIs.

Bell, 29, is signed via this season.

Drury, additionally 29, is within the midst of a profession season and might play throughout the diamond. He’s hitting .274 with a career-high 20 dwelling runs. His 59 RBIs is simply 4 in need of his profession excessive, set in 2017 whereas with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In 9 MLB seasons, which additionally included stops with the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, Drury has a .253 profession common with 71 dwelling runs and 249 RBIs.

“To have two minor league provides coming into the season and to have Cincinnati give me this chance and put my profession again on monitor, it’s been superb,” Drury mentioned within the Reds clubhouse earlier than Cincinnati performed the Miami Marlins. “I can’t thank Cincinnati sufficient. An enormous turning level in my profession.”

Drury mentioned he’s completely satisfied to go to a contender. The Padres are in second place behind the Dodgers within the Nationwide League West.

Padres Taking The Offensive

The Padres, who’ve had solely three dwelling runs this season from their proper fielders, improved enormously with Tuesday’s deal to accumulate outfielder Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell from the Nationals. Listed here are San Diego’s offensive ranks by batter’s defensive place this season:

OPS twenty seventh nineteenth fifteenth
HR twenty ninth* T-Twenty sixth T-14th
RBI twenty third T-Sixteenth twelfth
XBH twenty eighth T-Seventeenth 14th
**3 HRs in 371 AB from RF in ’22
“To be a part of that lineup goes to be fairly particular, and I’m excited to assist them win ballgames,” he mentioned.

Information of the Soto deal instantly was felt at Caesars Sportsbook, with San Diego’s odds of successful the World Sequence bettering from +2000 to +800. As well as, odds shifted on the Padres successful the Nationwide League pennant from +800 to +400.

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The Nationals personal the majors’ worst report at 36-69. They’d misplaced 4 of 5 video games getting into Tuesday, however they took down the New York Mets 5-1 in Jacob deGrom’s return to the mound for New York.

The 31-year-old Voit is hitting .225 with 13 dwelling runs and 48 RBIs this season. Previous to becoming a member of the Padres this season, Voit spent 4 seasons with the Yankees and two with the Cardinals. He has 86 profession dwelling runs with 251 RBIs and a .258 batting common.

Gore, who’s at present on the 15-day injured listing with elbow soreness, was lately added to the Padres’ bullpen. The 23-year-old left-hander made his debut this season after rating among the many recreation’s high pitching prospects since he was chosen within the first spherical of the 2017 draft.

He was distinctive early within the season, going 4-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his first 9 video games, together with eight begins. However he made two straight appearances out of the bullpen after San Diego transitioned from a six-man rotation to a five-man employees.

Gore left after throwing simply 35 pitches in an outing in opposition to the Detroit Tigers on July 25, and his fastball velocity in that recreation (92.7 mph) was down greater than 2 mph from his season common. His 70 innings pitched this season are already 19⅔ greater than he threw in 2021, and he was on tempo to far exceed his profession excessive within the minors of 101 innings.

Rizzo mentioned the Nationals reviewed Gore’s elbow MRI and that docs gave the OK to accumulate him. The workforce will “go simple” with Gore, although, given his heavy workload to date this season.

Abrams, 21, was the No. 6 decide of the 2019 draft. He’s hitting .232 with two dwelling runs and 11 RBIs within the majors this season and .314 with seven dwelling runs and 28 RBIs at Triple-A El Paso.

Hassell, 20, was the No. 8 decide of the 2020 draft. He’s hitting .299 with 10 dwelling runs and 55 RBIs at high-A Fort Wayne.

Wooden, a 19-year-old outfielder and second-round choice in final yr’s draft, is batting .321 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs for Class A Lake Elsinore.

“We have been lucky that it was a well-rounded commerce,” Rizzo mentioned. “We’ve acquired two pitchers, two outfielders and a shortstop, which match our wants completely.”

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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