Juan Soto traded to San Diego Padres; Residents have many views

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The Washington Nationals did the previously unthinkable on Tuesday: They traded Juan Soto.

Why? It will be debated for weeks and months — not to mention years and decades — in the city where Soto, still just 23, has blossomed into a star and one of the best hitters on the planet. But after Soto refused a Extension for 15 years, 440 million July. front office struck an eight-player deal with the San Diego Padres that rocked Major League Baseball, changed the course of the franchise and further upset fans who lost one star after another after the Nationals’ victory. In the 2019 World Series.

Calling it the biggest deal of this year’s trade deadline is an understatement. in 2024 season with Soto under team control, the Padres could have him for three playoff runs, with a lineup built around Soto, Fernando Tatís Jr., Manny Machado and first baseman Josh Bell, whom the Nationals packaged with Soto. .

Meanwhile, DC is left to watch another local cornerstone leave the club. Bryce Harper, who won the MVP award once with the Nationals, left for Philadelphia after the 2018 season. Anthony Rendon, one of the heroes of the World Series, joined the Los Angeles Angels shortly after the release of this title. And last summer the team sent Trea Turner and Max Scherzer to the Los Angeles Dodgersbeginning a rebuild that general manager Mike Rizzo said took a step forward Tuesday.

“I think it speeds up the process,” said Rizzo, who appeared on the verge of tears at various points during the 20-minute news conference. “I think you’re going to lose that generational talent, but you’re putting in five key pieces of a future championship roster.”

Yes, there was a lot going on in the Soto and Bell trade: shortstop CJ Abrams, left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore, outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wood, first baseman/designated hitter Luke Voit and right-hander Jarlin Susana. But there’s no replacing Soto or what he’s meant to the organization since he left in 2018. debuted at the age of 19. The Nationals stumbled toward yet another last-place finish, so they traded a quick reload around Soto, one at a time. player and one of the few reasons to support the team this summer.

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But without him, the Nationals are looking to develop unproven but highly touted players. This is the reality after a successful transaction. In the organization, everyone’s eyes are on the future in a constantly bleak present. After Soto and Bell became Padres, the Nationals didn’t change much.

“They’re all really tough,” manager Dave Martinez said, his voice cracking with emotion. “I build these relationships with these guys. The hardest thing about Juan was that he was so young… [I saw] even when he was a child. But they’re all tough.”

In recent days, San Diego has played Soto along with the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. But on Tuesday morning, the Padres had a clear lead with Soto and Bell in the package. Soto himself could claim a handful of prospects, while Voit, who has big league experience with St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Padres. But with the addition of Bell, the Nationals landed Susan, an 18-year-old with triple-digit fastball times.

Could the Nats have avoided trading Juan Soto? Your questions, answered.

While Rizzo was negotiating with teams, there were times when he doubted a deal would go through. The request of the nationalists was high. It also reflected Soto’s tremendous value and Bell’s two months. But while Bell is posting career numbers this year, Soto’s retirement is a real shocker to the Nationals — coaches and players — and their supporters.

After the contract, Soto worked with the team for four years as a teenager from the Dominican Republic in 2015. He stacked that term World Series Ringa National League batting title, two Silver Lining Awards, two top-five finishes in MVP voting, and a pair of All-Star appearances. in July, he won the Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadiumadding a resume that should belong to a mid-career star, not someone who can’t rent a car without minor fees.

At such a young age, Soto followed in the statistical footsteps of all-time greats Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Trout. He pairs power and contact ability with otherworldly plate discipline. Baseball writers missed the offseason once comparing him to Ted Williams, one of the greatest hitters of all time. That’s why Soto demanded a big return and the final extension offer wasn’t enough.

“We felt like we weren’t going to be able to extend him, and we felt that at this point, with two and a half years left, Juan Soto has three playoff games, he’s never going to be more valuable than he is.” today,” Rizzo said. “And that’s what we envisioned. There was no order to trade it or not to trade it [from ownership, as the Lerner family explores a sale of the team]. It was business as usual.”

Svrluga: The Juan Soto deal is heartbreaking. Now hope can begin.

So Soto’s continued dominance is what ultimately made his future in Washington difficult. For a long time, Soto after 2024. offseason wants to reach free agency, which is the only way to see how the open market values ​​him. Still, the Nationals made an effort to sign him to a long-term contract, a goal that became even more important after the club began a rebuild last July. sending out eight veterans for 12 unproven players.

Feinstein: You never trade a player like Juan Soto

First there was in November, a 13-year 350 million contract was offered with Soto. Washington then raised those numbers in May and then increased them by more a month ago to 15 years and $440 million. But Soto and Scott Boras, his agent, believed he was worth more than the average annual value of $29.3 million. July 16 this offer is the largest in MLB history by total contract value – was made public along with the Nationals’ intentions to listen to trade offers for Soto before the deadline.

But deal with Juan Soto? Give the player some of the biggest hits in the club’s history – go ahead, one of Josh Hader in the NL wild card game; score node homer off Clayton Kershaw in Game 5 of the NL Division Series; terrible shots against Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander In the World Series — though his best years may be ahead of him, not behind him?

A look at the players the Nationals are getting in the Juan Soto trade

In an interview with 106.7 The Fan on July 1, Rizzo was asked about the possibility of trading Soto. He was defiant, saying the Nationals won’t shop their best player, whose left-handed swing has become synonymous with modern baseball in Washington. Then everything changed, with a 15-year drop of 440 million. Money often has this effect.

“When someone like Soto moves, it’s a reminder that if he can be moved, anybody can move,” said sacked Sean Doolittle, a relic of being the 2019 tight end. in the title team. and remains in Washington. “It sounds surreal to say it out loud.”

Soto’s journey didn’t begin when he debuted in the National Park. It started outside the club’s academy in the Dominican Republic, where he spent extra hours at Rosetta Stone to improve his English. And it didn’t start when the team scouted him first as a left-handed pitcher who could hit a little.

It all started in a living room in Santo Domingo, when Soto’s dad would throw bottle caps at him, which the little boy would smash against the walls. He wanted to be Manny Ramirez or Robinson Canó. For long days on the playground, he imitated Canó’s overhead swing, and the other children called him “Little Robbie.” Baseball is a tradition in their common country. Also dreams of the major league.

Those dreams led Soto to Washington; to around America in national uniform; to the heights of the World Series and the depths of the rebuild. Then they’ll take him to San Diego, where he’ll have a new fan base watching opposing pitchers for every at-bat he takes. Soto shuffle which pushes dirt around the box. Soto has always been a blink and miss player.

Trading him means DC will be missing out on a lot.

Barry Svrluga contributed to this report, which has been updated.

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