After Soto declined the $440 million deal the Nationals offered to him, he had been a prime trade candidate. And on August 2nd, hours before the deadline, Washington sent the 23-year-old Soto along with Josh Bell to the San Diego Padres.
The Nationals got a significant haul in return, with the Padres giving them MacKenzie Gore, Robert Hassell III, CJ Abrams, James Wood, Jarlin Susana and Eric Hosmer to complete the deal.
While the Nats got a package they're willing to accept, though, it is worth wondering if they really had to trade Soto and whether or not they have a different choice. According to Soto himself, he was surprised he was traded since he thought he'd be staying in Washington.
“Just talked to Soto. He said he has no hard feelings toward [GM Mike] Rizzo or the Nationals and admitted he never actually thought it would happen. Said [agent Scott] Boras woke him up with a call yesterday telling him it would likely happen. Still surprised him when it did,” wrote Chelsea Janes of Washington Post.
Juan Soto is already one of the best hitters in the game, and any team would want him on their roster. The fear for the Nationals was that they could have lost him for nothing if they fail to extend him. Not to mention that they don't know what it would take to keep him with the team.
In a sense, the Nationals probably made the logical move of moving him when his value is at an all-time high. Nonetheless, it's normal for fans to feel bitter since players like Soto don't come often.
Just talked to Soto. He said he has no hard feelings toward Rizzo or the Nationals and admitted he never actually thought it would happen. Said Boras woke him up with a call yesterday telling him it would likely happen. Still surprised him when it did.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) August 3, 2022