The San Diego Padres may be 12 games out of first place in the NL West, but how come it feels like they’re sitting atop the baseball world?
They still have the Los Angeles Dodgers as the bullies on their block, but how come it feels like they’re laughing and kicking sand in their northern rivals’ face?
The Padres made one of the greatest trade acquisitions in baseball history – perhaps the biggest since Babe Ruth – landing 23-year-old outfield phenom Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals along with slugging first baseman Josh Bell.
MLB TRADE DEADLINE: Latest news on Tuesday’s deals
The price is awfully steep: The Nationals will get 1B/DH Luke Voit, shortstop CJ Abrams, outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wood, left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore, and right-handed pitcher Jarlin Susana.
Eric Hosmer was originally to be included in the deal, but didn’t want to waive his no-trade clause for a deal to Washington, and was subsequently sent to Boston. Instead, Voit, is the first baseman heading to the Nationals.
But, hey, what’s a few prospects when you get a chance to get one of the most dynamic hitters in baseball in Soto, who becomes the first multi-time All-Star to be traded before the age of 24?
And, oh yes, it sure feels a whole lot better when you’re the team out-bidding the Dodgers.
The monster trade comes on the heels of the Padres acquiring four-time All-Star closer Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers.
And, just like that, the Padres may still be a wild-card team, but, oh, will they ever be dangerous in October.
This is a team that was desperate for greatness. They haven’t been to the postseason in a full season since 2006, ending a 14-year drought in the abbreviated 2020 campaign.
So what that they already have two players with contracts in excess of $300 million with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado? So what that it’s going to be tough to sign Soto to an extension considering he is seeking at least $500 million?
The Padres believe now is the time to go all in, and if they want to recoup some of their prized prospects, they can simply trade Soto before he’s eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.
The Padres have changed the narrative with a prospect trading spree rarely seen in baseball.
Prospects are nice.
Parades are better.