How the Juan Soto deal could change the MLB balance of power for years, and create a $500 million man in the process.

Major League Baseball’s trade deadline produced a good number of good moves, and some will likely have a direct impact on the way this year’s playoffs unfold. But there was one deal that could have profound implications for the playoffs for years to come.

By now, baseball fans have looked at Juan Soto’s stats to show how the young star compares to some of the greatest players in baseball history. We’re talking about Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and those kind of inner circle legends. Soto doesn’t turn 24 until October, yet he already has 569 hits, 108 doubles, 119 home runs, 358 RBI, 399 runs scored and a World Series ring.

This particular deal is quite annoying for a player to see. This almost never happens, as we almost never see athletes of Soto’s ability. He is extremely rare.

That’s why this move will be felt in baseball for years. This is a landscape-changing move, and you have to go back 15 years to find a comp.

After Soto-Del passed, one of the first thoughts I had was when Cabrera was traded from the Marlins to the Tigers in 2007 after his age-24 season. It wasn’t a deadline deal, but Magee was also a once-in-a-generation talent at that age. The Marlins won the World Series in his rookie year. They followed up with two winning seasons before starting to go south. Cabrera was sent to Detroit along with Dontrell Willis.

Headlining the deal were outfielder Cameron Mebin and lefty starter Andrew Miller. They were both top-10 prospects in all of baseball prior to the 2007 season.

Mebin had a good career, though it was mostly as a journeyman backup. Miller became an ace reliever, but not for another five years and different teams. Four other players were added, the biggest impact coming from reliever Burke Badenhop.

Was it really worth it for the Marlins to rebuild their franchise by trading Miguel Freaking Cabrera when he was only 24 years old? It sure doesn’t seem like it.

Cabrera would become a Tigers legend, a perennial All-Star who won back-to-back MVPs. He won the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski. The Tigers won the 2012 title and were one of the most successful franchises for the first half of the 2010s.

It’s the kind of momentum in such a deal that sounds like a cautionary tale for the Nationals and underscores the Padres’ potential to hit big.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the contract will work that way.

Mark Teixeira Trade

Those in Nationals camp will be hoping for at least some semblance of a move from Mark Teixeira to the Rangers. Now, he was a little older, as this was his age-27 season, but Teixeira was already established as a superstar and seemed unlikely to re-sign with the Rangers when free agency hit. A year was lost and a half later

The Rangers, on deadline day in 2007, sent Teixeira to the Braves for a package that included Elvis Anders, Jarrod Saltlamacchia, Matt Harrison and Naftali Feliz. It was a deal that paved the way for the Rangers to win back-to-back AL pennants in 2010 and 2011, having never won one before.

On the other hand, the Braves ended up trading Teixeira next deadline for Casey Kotchman and a minor leaguer named Stephen Marek.

We can’t draw exact parallels here, as every case is unique, but the Cabrera and Teixeira deals at least give us a glimpse of how the future could turn out to be — either surprisingly or tragically — involved. For individuals.

Of course, there are other aspects to consider.

Small market push

Look, say what you will about Padres button-pusher-extraordinaire GM AJ Preller, but at least he’s trying to help his team win as much as possible right now. Manny Machado is in the fourth year of his 10-year contract, but he’s also 30 and coming off one of the best seasons of his career. The Padres have a rotation that could carry them through October, but also includes the 35-year-old Yu Darvish and a considerable history of arm injuries. Adding not only Soto, but also Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Brandon Drury, Preller is making an aggressive push to win in 2022. Spoil the future. We will find out later.

How fun. How refreshing.

Anyone else tired of constantly hearing teams — or especially ownership — cry poor? Anyone else tired of hand twisting all the “market” sizes? Does it bother you to see contending teams deal key pieces from their major league rosters and then bombard us with comments about their playoff prospects?

The Padres and Prellers are here for us. Aren’t you having fun?

Soto’s potential free agency?

Now, overly savvy front office types will immediately be concerned about Soto’s contract status. That is, he is set to hit free agency after the 2024 season. Machado’s 10-year, $300 million contract runs through 2028. Fernando Tates, Jr.’s 14-year, $340 million contract runs through 2034. Soto would need at least $500 million to lock in an extension now. The Padres probably don’t have the financial resources to do that right now without seriously hampering their ability to win in 2026-28, right?

I don’t think it matters right now, honestly. They now have a three-season window of potential playoff runs with Machado, Soto and Tates. Smaller-market clubs can rebuild and rebuild and never come up with that kind of window on three elite players. It was a no-brainer for Preller to take that kind of gamble dealing with the odds of a sure thing in Soto, especially since — at 23 — he’s the age of many possibilities anyway. (Orioles rookie catcher Adele Rotschman is older, just to put that in perspective.)

Regardless of how everything unfolds, the paths of the Padres and Nationals have changed drastically with this trade. With the way the move will affect the NL East, NL West and the playoffs going forward — not only with Soto, but also Bell and the players who went the way of the Nationals — it’s a deal that’s entirely up to par. It will be felt like. league for years. In fact, with Soto moving into this situation, it seems likely that he will hit free agency now, which will have ramifications for the rest of baseball.

We can now focus more on the near term, though.

The Padres still aren’t the best team, but…

Look, the Dodgers are going to win the NL West. They are deeper and have more overall talent than the Padres. I’m not sure anyone would dispute that, so let’s not do the strawman thing where we take to social media with some nonsense like “The media declared the Padres champions on August 2nd!”

No, the Dodgers are still the best pick to win the NL whoever wins the East next.

At the same time, the playoffs become a crapshoot as more teams qualify for October. Sometimes the best teams win it all (hi, 2018 Red Sox and 2016 Cubs). Sometimes the teams with the fewest wins win the title, such as the 88-win, 2021 Braves. Sometimes it’s the 2019 wild-card Nationals, who seem like an appropriate team for this discussion with Mr. The basement

The Padres are looking at a playoff rotation of Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Mike Clevinger and Sean Manaea or Blake Snell. The bullpen will be anchored by Josh Heather. The lineup will have firepower in Soto, Machado, Tatis, Bell and Jake Cronenworth. They can get bounced in the first round, sure, but this is exactly the kind of group that can catch fire at the right time and propel themselves to a title.

The San Diego Padres have never won a World Series, although twice they reached the Fall Classic, they had the misfortune of squaring off against two of the American League’s all-time juggernauts — the 1984 Detroit Tigers and the 1998 New York Yankees.

But this is a new century, and there is a confluence of factors somewhere that led Preller to take a daring swing at glory. With a Machado-Tatis-Soto position player nucleus, there’s a unique three-chance opportunity, along with the knowledge that paying the odds for a 23-year-old superstar with Soto’s pedigree and crapshoot is a small one. C is the price. The playoffs could happen these days.

The landscape-changing trades entertained us a lot on trade deadline day and will continue to do so moving forward. It’s a deal we’ll all remember for decades, no matter how it unfolds.