After weeks of speculation, Juan Soto is now a member of the New York Yankees. There is belief that this durable star can reinvigorate the franchise and fan base for at least for 2024. Despite there not being as much optimism surrounding the trade in Petco Park, this is obviously a monumental moment for the San Diego Padres as well.
Soto was part of the team that reached the National League Championship Series in 2022 and put together a top-10 MVP campaign in his first full season in 2023. And yet, his time in San Diego will also be characterized by the Padres' inability to advance to or win a World Series. This stacked squad just got a lot lighter in terms of talent and panache, but perhaps his exit could revive the organization after a disappointing year.
Padres president of baseball operations and general manager AJ Preller explained that bittersweet sentiment less than 24 hours after the Soto trade finally became official. “I think a little bit exciting and disappointing,” he told The Athletic's Chris Kirschner. “You’re talking about a future Hall of Famer.…Hopefully, it’s a deal that works both ways and we’re seeing him in the postseason next year.”
In exchange for Juan Soto and two-time Gold Glove center fielder Trent Grisham, San Diego receives four right-handed pitchers in Michael King (2.75 ERA in 49 appearances this past season), Drew Thorpe (now ranked No. 6 in farm system), Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez, along with defensive-oriented catcher Kyle Higashioka.
Preller is hoping that this haul of players makes the Padres a more balanced club for the years to come. Dealing away a cornerstone for an inadequate return value can cause an executive's seat to heat up relatively quickly. Though, the front office cannot worry about the consequences of this move right now. There is plenty of work still to do this MLB offseason.