Nationals trade superstar Juan Soto to Padres in blockbuster 8-player deal

Deal sends Juan Soto, Josh Bell to Padres for 4 prospects, MacKenzie Gore

Washington Nationals' Juan Soto smiles as he celebrates after his solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets at Nationals Park, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Washington Nationals have traded superstar outfielder Juan Soto and slugger Josh Bell to the San Diego Padres for six players in one of the biggest blockbusters in MLB trade deadline history.

The Padres also received Bell, a first baseman, in the deal, while sending the Nationals Luke Voit, two rookies, and three minor leaguers.

Juan Soto

Soto, 23, is one of the most accomplished hitters under 24 years old in league history, with 119 home runs, a .291/.427/.538 slash line and more walks than strikeouts across his first 565 career games.

The Nationals won the 2019 World Series behind the then-21-year-old slugger, who posted a .927 OPS with five home runs and three doubles in 17 postseason games.

Soto is under contract for two more seasons after 2022, meaning the Padres will have him at the heart of the order for at least three playoff races. Once star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. returns from an offseason injury, the Soto-Tatis tandem will be the most exciting in all of baseball.

Despite having a down year by his standards -- a .248/.408/.485 slash line with 21 homers and 17 doubles -- Soto reportedly received a 15-year, $440 million contract offer from the Nationals. Soto, whose agent, Scott Boras, is known for advising his clients to test free agency, turned down the deal.

Josh Bell

Washington Nationals' Josh Bell hits an RBI-double against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the seventh inning during a baseball game, Sunday, July 24, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

While Soto is the headliner, Bell is much more than a throw-in in this deal. The 29-year-old first baseman is having a fantastic season, slashing .301/.384/.493 with 14 home runs and 24 doubles. He has 49 walks and 61 strikeouts in a league-leading 103 games played.

Bell is on a one-year, $10 million deal and is set to become a free agent after 2022, but he’ll be another dangerous bat at the heart of the order for San Diego in the coming months.

Prospects heading to Washington

Washington has steadily declined since the 2019 World Series, finishing in last place each of the last two seasons and trending toward a third in 2022. Last July, the Nats traded stars Trea Turner and Max Scherzer to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Josiah Gray and catcher Keibert Ruiz.

Hours before that deal with the Dodgers was finalized, the Padres were believed to be the frontrunners for Scherzer, who helped carry Los Angeles to the National League Championship Series.

This time, though, the Nationals and Padres finalized a blockbuster deal. The Nationals received former top pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore, elite infield prospect C.J. Abrams, top outfield prospect Robert Hassell III, top 100 outfield prospect James Wood, and 18-year-old righty Jarlin Susana.

Gore was the No. 1 pitching prospect in MLB two years ago before missing time with injuries. He debuted for the Padres this year and was having a decent rookie season before going down with injury.

San Diego Padres starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, July 3, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Abrams has also gotten a small taste of MLB action for the first time this year. Despite his struggles in minimal at-bats, he’s still mashing at Triple-A and remains a top 20 prospect.

Hassell was San Diego’s first-round pick in 2020 and is just 20 years old. He’s a consensus top 25 prospect and has 10 homers, 19 doubles, 20 steals, and an .846 OPS at High-A Fort Wayne this season.

Wood is a top 100 prospect with excellent on-base and power numbers at Single-A this season.

Susana has appeared in eight rookie ball games, striking out 44 batters in 29.1 innings while posting a 2.45 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP.

Luke Voit and Eric Hosmer

Eric Hosmer was originally included in the deal, but he declined to waive his no-trade clause, which included the Nationals. The deal was not contingent on his approval and still went through without his inclusion.

Luke Voit was included in the deal after Hosmer’s decision. Hosmer was traded to the Boston Red Sox an hour later.

Hosmer, a 32-year-old first baseman, has a .727 OPS and is set to make $39 million total over the next three seasons after 2022.

The Nationals would have been responsible to pay Hosmer the $8 million he’s owed for the rest of 2022, but the Padres would have paid the $13 million per year for 2023, 2024, and 2025, per reports.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.