Juan Soto trade: Padres agree to deal for superstar before deadline, Nationals get five prospects in return

According to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ, the Washington Nationals are in agreement with the San Diego Padres to trade outfielder Juan Soto. Soto, the biggest name on the market before Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET trade deadline, was made available in July after he rejected a 15-year, $440 million extension offer. The Padres will also get Nationals first baseman Josh Bell in the deal, and the Nationals will receive a package headlined by lefty Mackenzie Gore, outfielder Robert Hassel III and shortstop C.J. Abrams.

First baseman Eric Hosmer is also headed to DC. He would have to agree to join, though, because the Nationals are one of the teams he can use his no-trade clause to block the deal.. Here’s the full deal:

The Padres get it.

Citizens get

  • LHP Mackenzie Gore
  • of Robert Hassell III
  • SSC J. Abrams
  • of James Wood
  • RHP Jarlin Susanna
  • 1B Eric Hosmer (pending no-trade clause)

The Cardinals and Dodgers were seen as the other two finalists for Soto, but San Diego apparently ended their bid.

Soto, 23, will have two additional years of team control remaining after this season. Since making his big league debut during the 2018 season, he has emerged as one of the best hitters in baseball. Entering Tuesday, he was hitting .291/.427/.538 (160 OPS+) with 119 home runs for his career. Soto, a two-time All-Star, was part of the Nationals’ 2019 World Series-winning club.

Why are the Citizens trading Juan Soto?

As the $440 million figure shows, it’s worth noting that the Nationals’ extension offer would result in an average annual value of $29.3 million. According to Cot’s contracts, that would check in as the 20th-highest mark in the majors, an unbecoming ranking for a player of his youth and track record. In fact, Soto’s AAV wouldn’t be the highest on the Nationals active roster, with right-hander Stephen Strasburg averaging $35 million per season.

Soto is the latest star to leave the Nationals, and he joins an impressive list that includes Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, and Max Scherzer — the latter two of whom were traded at last year’s deadline. Was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Soto’s departure comes at a time of tremendous turnover for the Nationals organization. The franchise is expected to complete a sale to new ownership this offseason, marking the end of an era. The Lerner family had previously owned the team since 2006, when real estate developer Ted Lerner purchased the club from Major League Baseball for $450 million. Ted later transferred ownership to his son Mark in 2018.

Who’s giving up in San Diego?

The Nationals return a collection of big league talent and prospects. Abrams, 21, is a speedy middle infielder who has hit .232/.285/.320 (77 OPS+) with 23 more strikeouts than walks and just seven extra base hits in 139 major league plate appearances. His poor performance should be seen with the added context that he missed most of last season, and has appeared in just 152 professional games overall. To wit, Abrams has already played in more big league games than the Double or Triple-A level. He was ranked as the 10th best prospect by CBS Sports entering the spring based on the belief that he would be fine long-term.

Gore, 23, is currently on the injured list with an elbow strain. He overcame an apparent case of the yips to post a 4.50 ERA (84 ERA+) and 1.95 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 70 innings this season, most of which came as a starter. Gore was considered one of the better pitching prospects in the game, but his aforementioned struggles have lowered his stock. His elbow problem doesn’t help matters either.

Hassel, 20, was the eighth pick in the 2020 draft. He is batting .299/.379/.467 in 75 games at the High-A level this season. He’s considered a good hit tool, but scouts have long wanted to see him tap into his raw power more. It is also unclear whether he will be able to stay in center field for long.

Wood, 19, was San Diego’s second-round pick in the 2021 draft. He is listed at 6-foot-7 and has a lot of raw power and better speed than you might expect from someone his size. He slipped in the draft because analysts had concerns about his swing-and-miss tendencies. Encouragingly, in 50 games this season, he struck out in less than 20 percent of his trips to the plate.

Susanna, 18, is a big right-hander who has spent the season in a complicated league. He has made eight appearances, compiling a 2.45 ERA and 4.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has a big fastball and a promising breaking ball.