The San Diego Padres pulled off a stunning blockbuster before Tuesday's MLB trade deadline, landing perhaps the greatest talent to ever change teams at the deadline. The Washington Nationals are sending Juan Soto to the Padres in an absolutely paradigm-shifting deal.
The second-coming of Ted Williams is headed to San Diego in exchange for the biggest haul of prospects in baseball history. While the cost for the 23-year-old superstar was massive for the Padres, it's not hyperbole to say they have created one of the best lineup trios in the history of the game.
Soto will join Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis to great a fearsome three-man lineup grouping that exceeds whatever any other MLB team can cobble together. And those three will be together for at least two more seasons. Soto is under team control through the 2024 season, Machado is signed through 2028 (with an unlikely opt-out after 2023), and Tatis is signed through 2034.
Soto brings his career .966 OPS and otherworly .427 on-base percentage to America's Finest City, combining with Machado's career .829 OPS and .490 slugging percentage and Tatis' .965 OPS and .586 slugging percentage. Getting the picture yet? Those three guys can absolutely mash. That sound you heard was pitchers across Major League Baseball collectively gulping.
All three guys are All-Stars and perennial MVP contenders. Based on age, Soto (23) and Tatis (23) aren't even in their primes, while Machado (30) is smack in the middle of his. Most would agree, all three are future Hall of Famers. Lineup groupings like this simply don't happen in modern baseball.
This is the kind of ground-shifting deal fans expect from the trade deadline, and Padres general manager A.J. Preller deserves credit for pulling it off. Preller is responsible for landing all three guys. He scored a 17-year-old Tatis as a throw-in to the deal that sent a broken down James Shields to the Chicago White Sox, and convinced Machado to sign with the franchise before the 2019 season following 12 seasons without a playoff appearance.
Preller gave away the jewels of his beloved farm system to get this done. Sending two former top 10 prospects in lefty MacKenzie Gore, infielder C.J. Abrams to headline things, and adding the system's No. 1 prospect (Robert Hassell III), No. 3 prospect (James Wood) and exciting 18-year-old righty Jarlin Susana in order to make the deal happen.
We don't know how the deal came together or what other teams offered to Nationals, but what we do know is that Soto is joining the Padres and helping create a modern day Murderer's Row.
It's currently 81 degrees in San Diego. I can assure you it's a hell of a lot sunnier in the Padres' clubhouse.