Aug 3, 2022 - Sports

The trade of the century

Photo Illustration of Juan Soto with Padres batting helmet
Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

What once seemed impossible is now a reality: 23-year-old superstar Juan Soto is no longer a National, traded to the Padres for a historic haul.

The big picture: The Padres haven't made a non-pandemic postseason since 2006. Now, one of the league's most active GMs in A.J. Preller hopes his splashiest move yet will help them emerge from the Dodgers’ shadow.

  • Padres get: RF Soto, 1B Josh Bell
  • Nationals get: LHP MacKenzie Gore (MLB rookie), SS C.J. Abrams (MLB rookie), OF Robert Hassell III (High-A), OF James Wood (Low-A), RHP Jarlin Susana (Rookie Ball), 1B Luke Voit (MLB)

By the numbers: After the trade, Washington's farm system jumped from MLB's 24th-best to its eighth-best, per FanGraphs.

"This is, very simply, the largest trade package we have ever seen for an individual player."
Jeff Passan, ESPN

The state of play: The entire starting lineup and rotation was acquired via trade or free agency, and at its heart are Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and now Soto, who they'll hope to re-sign.

  • Success isn't guaranteed, but the city has to appreciate its only major pro sports team going for it like this.

The other side: Nationals fans may not feel quite as good about their situation.

  • Since 2018, they've watched Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer and Soto leave in succession, and there's no guarantee the eventual new owners will be any more inclined to retain their stars.
  • They'll always have 2019's surprise championship run, but the Nats' decline since then has been drastic, and some feel the return for Soto should have been much better.

Looking ahead: In a cruel twist of fate, the Nationals host the Padres for a three-game series in just nine days.

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