BREAKING NEWS: Nationals Trade Juan Soto to the Padres

Juan Soto and Josh Bell continue to go tit for tat for Washington  Nationals' home run lead - Federal Baseball
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Juan Soto has finally been traded. He is on the move to San Diego for a flurry of top prospects. The Padres were already one of the most fun teams in the MLB and they just added the most electric player in baseball. Furthermore, Josh Bell is on the move to San Diego along with Juan Soto in the trade.

The Padres side of things:

Juan Soto, the 23 year old, World Series champion, and former batting title champion is on the move. With a top tier 1b by his side, Soto costs a pretty penny but is definitely worth it. The superstar outfielder is in the 98th percentile for xwOBA (expected weighted on base average) during a down year. In every year of his career, Soto has been in the top 3% for walks and top 10% for wxOBA. Everyone knows Soto is a once in a generation talent, coupled with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado… watch out world.

Another piece of this trade was Josh Bell. If you are a big baseball fan you probably know Bell from his time with the Pirates. Bell he has been solid for the Nationals this year. A lot of fan bases wanted him this offseason, but the Padres get him as they make a world series push.

The Nationals side of the Juan Soto Trade:

Firstly, Mackenzie Gore is the biggest part of this deal. He is a bonafide future ace, and he has already shown big league production this year. Furthermore, Gore can still keep you from being a horrible team for the next few years as the Nationals ownership looks to sell the franchise away.

Second, We all knew the Juan Soto trade was going to get the Nationals a good amount of top prospects, but adding Bell on top takes this deal to the next level. The Nationals receive CJ Abrams, Robert Hassell, James Wood and Jarlin Susana. CJ Abrams is going to be a top defensive shortstop in this league. Pairing him with SS/2B Brady House (Nationals #1 prospect) will be a lot of fun for Nationals fans. Hassell and Wood are top tier outfielders in the minors right now who are expected to be up quickly. Susana has been making waves in the minors recently with some great outings on the bump.

What’s Next:

Finally, the big fish has been moved, and Soto is off the board. However, This makes the the Giants situation a lot more interesting. Now, with two top 3 teams in the NL, the Giants will look to sell. The Yankees reportedly are in on Carlos Rendon already but have made no progress.

Best Fit For Juan Soto as Trade Sweepstakes Narrows

According to MLB insider Bob Nightingale, the Juan Soto trade sweepstakes has been reduced to a ‘final four‘. Let’s take a look at the case for each team and try to figure out which one makes the most sense.

Washington Nationals OF Juan Soto is on the trade block
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Top Four Juan Soto Trade Destinations

San Diego Padres

The Padres have always made a ton of sense. The general consensus is that they  are the favorite in this race. They certainly have the young talent to get it done. Also, they appear to be in ‘win-now mode’. They are certainly in that sweet spot with veterans like Manny Machado still playing well, and young stars emerging like Fernando Tatis Jr.

Another thing to consider is whether or not a potential suitor would be looking to keep Soto long-term. The asking price is pretty steep if you only plan to rent him for the next two and a half seasons. Any team looking at adding Soto should be considering the massive financial commitment that it will take to keep him long term.

The Padres have proven willing to spend big for their stars, with the Machado and Tatis contracts being prime examples. However, San Diego is a smaller market club. This begs the question: Can they afford a third mega-deal?

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners appear to be right on the cusp of ‘serious contender’ status. Adding Soto could give them the boost their offense needs to push them over the top. This would be a huge get for a franchise that has struggled to acquire and keep superstar talent.

That is also the biggest hurdle for the Mariners. Superstars have not historically been willing to go to Seattle long-term. By trading for Soto, the Mariners would have to be willing to accept that it might be a rental situation. You can really only justify that if you feel like the move practically guarantees you a ring. Adding Soto sure helps, but probably not that much.

St. Louis Cardinals

On paper, this makes too much sense. St. Louis is very clearly in ‘win-now mode’ with all of their aging stars. They also have a wealth of young talent to offer in a trade. Finally, the Cardinals could use another bat to put the offense over the top. That is probably their biggest need outside of pitching.

Ironically, the young talent factor is probably what could keep this deal from happening. The Cardinals are built on having a constant supply of good young ball players. They are not a franchise that likes to gut their farm system for one guy.

Also, gigantic free agent contacts are not something this front office is keen on. Selling the farm for what would likely be a rental would be a huge deviation from the famed “Cardinal Way.”

Los Angeles Dodgers

Of course the Dodgers are in contention for Soto. They are contenders once again, and would not mind another big signing to help push them over the top. They also have the capital to get a deal done done. Despite being known for big acquisitions, the Dodgers have a decent pipeline. Another thing in their favor is, of course, a deep wallet. Of the four alleged trade destination finalists for Juan Soto, Los Angeles is in the best position to sign him to a long-term deal.

If there is one thing working against the Dodgers, it would be what they have to offer. While they can create a package enticing enough for the Washington Nationals to bite, they might not have the BEST package. The Dodgers do not have the same wealth of blue-chip prospects that some of these other clubs, like the Cardinals for example, can offer.

Los Angeles would have to offer young talent that is currently contributing in the big leagues. If a bidding war emerges, the Dodgers may have to consider how much depth they are willing to give up to get one dynamic player.

Which Trade Destination is Best for Juan Soto?

Best Fit: Padres

San Diego is the favorite for a reason. They have a better stable of prospects to offer than the Dodgers. They appear more willing to make a big move like this than the Cardinals. The Mariners just made a big move for Louis Castillo as of writing this. The Padres just make the most sense right now.