Juan Soto trade grades: Padres get ‘A’ for landing superstar Low numbers for nationals despite big race

The Padres and Nationals agreed to the biggest trade of the summer before Tuesday’s deadline, with the San Diego Nets star outfielder Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell. In return, Washington received Luke Voight and a handful of young players: shortstop C.J. Abrams, left-hander McKenzie Gore, outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wood, and right-hander Jarlene Susanna.

The Padres have made a habit out of splash moves during AJ Preller’s tenure as general manager. That’s the biggest one, because it gives San Diego a 23-year-old who is on a Hall of Fame track and under team control for an additional two seasons. The Nationals, for their part, get a number of young players, some of whom could become greats in Washington. Now they move on, possibly under new ownership, without the prospect of being competitive for at least a few more years.

We here at CBS Sports are nothing if not judgmental, and that means offering the closest analysis on the biggest trades this time of year. Below, you’ll find the grades for both the Padres and Nationals, along with an explanation of those evaluations.

With that, let’s resume the deal:

Padres receive.

Citizens receive

  • 1B Luke Voight
  • SSC J. Abrams
  • LHP Mackenzie Gore
  • of Robert Hassell III
  • of James Wood
  • RHP Jarlin Susanna

Padres Grade: A

Professional baseball is, at its core, part of the entertainment industry. We often try to ignore this fact on the grounds that we want baseball to be something bigger, something else. Accepting that baseball is part of the entertainment industry isn’t a bad thing, and it doesn’t stop those romantic feelings. No one held it against movies or music. Acknowledging baseball as the ultimate pastime, and shrugging off dogmatic devotion to it as something greater, only becomes a problem when you don’t find the product entertaining.

Padres fans have been there and done that. They’ve spent the summer staring at a lifeless product with Chris Dinorfia, Will Venable, and Chase Headley wearing forgettable uniforms. We mean no disrespect to this trio of players, but you can empathize with any Padres fan pinching themselves today, realizing that Manny Machado, Fernando Tates Jr., and Juan Soto (They will also be wearing Technicolor jerseys..)

No executive seems to understand and appreciate the fun side of things more than AJ Preller. Say what you will about his business and his methods (and other teams scoff at his freewheeling ways all the time) but this guy knows how to add big names to his fan base. To be sure, it’s all about trying to win the first world. series in franchise history.

Whether or not the Padres accomplish that goal — and they look more apt to do so than ever before — they’re sure to be fun to try, and they’ll have plenty of tickets and trade deals. Goods are going to be sold. way to

Soto is one of the best hitters, and therefore one of the best players in the majors. To illustrate the point, he’s having his worst season (as measured by OPS+) of the pandemic era. He’s still hitting .246/.408/.485 with far more walks than strikeouts. If you must reach 40.8 percent of your “down” time. And A .240 ISO … then, folks, that’s an indication that you’re dealing with a top talent. Soto is; There’s a reason people keep tossing around names like Ted Williams when talking about his place in the game.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Soto play consistently, he does everything you want at the plate. He has excellent command of the strike zone. He has good bat-to-ball skills, allowing him to make contact at an above-average rate. And his barrel awareness is such that he’s consistently posted an average exit velocity that’s near the top of the league. The only real knock on Soto is that his defense is often substandard, but that’s a minor issue given his offense.

Adding Soto to three playoff runs on an already good roster is an opportunity that doesn’t come around often. This is the kind of high-leverage strategy where any cost is justified, even if it means mostly emptying the remains of your farm system. The Padres did just that here, though they were able to nab a few interesting youngsters, including catcher Luis Campesano and infielder Jackson Merrill. Again, the cost almost pays for itself when you’re getting a player of Soto’s caliber for several years. What the priests got. purple It’s harder to understand here than Soto — and that “more” is another good, in-demand player … well, Jeez.

Bell is an incoming free agent who represents a clear upgrade over Eric Hosmer. In 103 games this season, he hit .301/.384/.493 (152 OPS+) with 14 home runs and just 12 fewer walks than strikeouts (69). It’s not every day you can add a hitter who can hit for average, walks, and slug — the Padres added two on Tuesday, giving them a deeper, more solid lineup that October. I am likely to be.

Even so, the Padres are by no means guaranteed to advance past the wild-card round. It’s a best-of-three series and weird things happen all the time in a three-game series in this game. But it seems like every time baseball people invoke prospect analysis these days, it’s to justify standing down or standing up. Our team only had a 20 percent shot in the playoffs, what were we supposed to do? What Preller seems to be saying instead is this: What if we treat adversity as a reference, not a guide? Nothing preserves those numbers like teams treating them the same. The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets have a lot of impact talent, they sure do. The only way to defeat him is with your own skills. The Padres now have their share, and it’s all thanks to Preller.

It may work, it may not. Give Preller this much: Baseball has been a lot more fun in San Diego and elsewhere because of it.

National Grade: D

It doesn’t matter who the Nationals got in exchange for Soto. It never did. The reality is that if you find yourself trading a 23-year-old on a Hall of Fame track with years of team control left, you’ve already lost. History supports the notion that it’s impossible to get equal value for a player of Soto’s caliber, and it looks like this deal will be no exception, even if some of the returning youngsters go on to have solid or better careers. Because sometimes it needs to be stated very clearly: this grade reflects the current situation, trading in front of the franchise among these situations, more than the players.

The most generous reading of the deal is that the Lerners, who are selling the franchise, leveraged publicity relations to trade Soto so that the next owners could come away with a clean slate. How kind. The subtext — the learner’s knowledge that the next owners won’t want to expand the basement, either — shouldn’t be lost on anyone. (Remember how baseball is part of the entertainment industry? Do you think he’s memorized his farewell speech by now? Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Max Scherzer, Trey Turner, and now Soto. It was all over within a handful of years.

Voit, 31, is the most successful player the Nationals have received, even if he is in Plan B after Eric Hosmer vetoed his involvement in the trade. Voit has two more seasons of team control left and would serve an immediate purpose as a convenient replacement for Bell. He is an above-average hitter with good power and a willingness to walk. Voit’s strikeout rate has increased over the past two years, suggesting the Nationals want to move him before his floor falls this winter.

Abrams and Gore are the current headliners almost by default, as they have been near the top of prospect lists for years and have each debuted in the majors. However, each has had an understanding introduction to the big league game.

Abrams, 21, is a speedy shortstop who batted .232/.285/.320 (77 OPS+) with 23 more strikeouts than walks in his first 139 trips to the plate. He’s not far from being held by Fernando Tates Jr. would move away from shortstop, which explains how the Padres and the industry viewed him. That assessment may be hard to reconcile with his play in the majors, but it’s worth remembering that the Padres rushed his arrival. He appeared in just 42 games above A-ball when he made his big league debut, and those came before he suffered a leg injury last summer.

Some analysts have expressed concern in the past about Abrams’ swing decisions and quality of contact. Those problems seem obvious so far: He had a strikeout rate of more than 40 percent and an average exit velocity in the mid-80s. Not ideal. The question is whether or not Abrams can settle in as he gains some much-needed experience against top-level competition. We’re willing to hope the answer is yes, which, in turn, will make him a high-quality shortstop in due time.

Gore, 23, made 16 appearances (most of them starts) and compiled a 4.50 ERA (84 ERA+ and 1.95 strikeout-to-walk ratio) before going on the injured list with a sore elbow. . He’s not likely to pitch again until September, and the Nationals will be due to shut him down for the year and start him anew next spring.

That Gore was in a position to log any major league innings this season was a victory in itself, as he signaled victory over an apparent bout with the yips — that is, an often inexplicable wildness. Share. The Padres used him out of the bullpen toward the end of his stay with the team, but he has a complete arsenal — a mid-90s fastball and signature curveball that he offers at his best, as well as a slider and shad. And stands out as a rarely used change. — and should have a chance to start moving forward.

The catch with Gore is that the combination of his current injury and past wildness makes it difficult to predict his future with any real accuracy. He could be a mid-rotation starter, he could be a little more or a lot less depending on how things play out.

Hassell and Wood are both outfielders and recent high draft picks.

Hassell, in less than a fortnight, plans to have a good hit tool. He has yet to tap into his raw power the way scouts want to see him since he moved to No. 1. 8 overall in 2020, and it’s unclear if he’ll stick in center field for the long haul. If Hassel slips to a corner, it puts even more pressure on him to open up his pop.

Wood, 19 and a second-round pick last summer, is listed at 6-foot-7. He has massive raw power and moves better than you would expect from someone his size. Evaluators had concerns about his tendency to swing and miss as an amateur, but he has made gains in that field. In A-ball this season, he has struck out in less than 20 percent of his trips to the plate. If Wood can continue to keep the bat on the ball as he moves up the ladder, there is potential in the middle lineup.

Susanna, 18, is a big right-hander who hasn’t pitched much higher than a complicated league. He has a good fastball and a promising breaking ball. There is a chance he can turn into a high-quality pitcher, the building blocks are there. There’s also a chance he turns into a reliever, or never pitches in the majors. So it goes with complex weapons.

These additions leave the Nationals with a better farm system, but more than that, they solidify Washington’s system as one of the most versatile in the game. A wide range of outcomes is possible for Hassell, Wood, Susanna and some existing players, such as recent top picks Elijah Green and Brady House, as well as top international signing Cristian Vickiro. The Nationals’ reputation for player development has declined in recent years. Helping a few players above the “click” will go a long way in reversing this slide.