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Juan Soto trade to Padres draws emotional reaction from Nationals’ Mike Rizzo

Juan Soto, Mike Rizzo, Padres, Nationals

The Washington Nationals did the unthinkable and actually traded Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday. It was arguably the biggest trade in MLB history, and to say emotions were running high in the aftermath is an understatement. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was speaking to reporters after the trade deadline blockbuster, and he decided to rock his World Series ring to the press conference. During his media address, Rizzo did his best to ensure Nationals fans that the franchise would come out of the trade stronger in the long run, via ESPN’s Marly Rivera.

“I wore this ring purposely, okay? It shows what we’ve done and what we’re going to do in the future,” said Rizzo. “In 2019 we had a slogan, ‘bumpy roads lead to beautiful places.’ We’re in a bumpy road right now, and we believe that coming out of this thing it will be a beautiful place.”

The entire trade saw the Nationals offload Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the San Diego Padres in exchange for a package including Luke Voit, MacKenzie Gore, CJ Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Wood, and Jarlin Susana.

The return certainly sets the Nationals up for a strong rebuild, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow for fans who had grown to adore Soto during his first five seasons with the club. Rizzo’s reaction shows just how much thought went into the decision to trade Soto, who has two years beyond this season of team control on his contract.

As it became more and more clear that a contract extension for Soto was a longshot and virtually impossible, the Nationals opted to try and trade him for a big haul while his value was still sky high. They managed to do just that on Tuesday, acquiring a slew of current and former top prospects from the Padres, but even still, it’s clear how difficult it was for the organization to pull the trigger on the deal.