After weeks of speculation, a winner has finally been crowned in the Juan Soto sweepstakes.
The Nationals have agreed to deal their superstar outfielder and first baseman Josh Bell to the Padres, according to The Post’s Jon Heyman. In return, San Diego will send a plethora of top prospects to Washington, including pitcher MacKenzie Gore, outfielder Robert Hassell III, shortstop C.J. Abrams, outfielder James Wood and righty Jarlin Susana.
The Padres were expected to also be parting ways with one of their veterans in first baseman Eric Hosmer as part of the deal. The 32-year-old will be owed $13 million in the concluding three years of his contract and is slashing .272/.336/.391. However, Hosmer, rejected being traded to the Nationals after refusing to waive his no-trade clause.
Instead, the Padres dealt Hosmer to the Red Sox, per Heyman.
Nonetheless, Soto will still be joining the Padres and adds to an already formidable San Diego lineup that boasts stars Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. as well as recently acquired closer Josh Hader.
It was only several weeks ago that Washington looked to lock down Soto, their once franchise cornerstone, offering a whopping 15-year, $440 million extension. However, Soto rejected the deal, leaving the Nationals with little choice other than to deal the generational talent, who still has 2 1/2 years remaining on his current contract.
Since making his major league debut in 2018, Soto has developed into one of the most fearsome hitters in baseball. The 23-year-old boasts a .291/.427/.538 slash line alongside 119 home runs over his young career. He’s additionally made two All-Star games and was an integral part of the Nationals’ 2019 World Series championship team.
The Padres’ acquisition of Soto is extremely unprecedented, as a star of his caliber rarely becomes available on the trade market while in their prime. According to Elias Sports, he’s the first player under the age of 23 to be traded midseason the same year as making an All-Star game, as well as the first to make multiple All-Star games and change teams before turning 24.
Wood headlines the pack of Padres’ young talent heading to Washington in return for Soto. The Single-A outfielder ranked as San Diego’s No. 3 prospect, with his massive upside and power potential acting as the “lynchpin of this deal,” according to Heyman.
Abrams, meanwhile, is a 21-year-old former top-six draft pick; Gore, a 23-year-old former top-three pick who’s had success in the MLB; and Hassell III was San Diego’s No. 1 prospect and is MLB’s 21st-ranked prospect.