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DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 12: Juan Soto #22 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres during the 2021 T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Coors Field on July 12, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Padres’ Big 3 now includes Juan Soto

  • Manuel Gómez - East Coast Contributor & Podcast Director Manuel Gómez, East Coast Contributor & Podcast Director
  • August 2, 2022

Juan Soto acquisition puts Padres on the World Series or bust clock

The San Diego Padres won Major League Baseball’s 2022 Trade Deadline. After much speculation regarding where outfielder Juan Soto was going, the Washington Nationals sent the superstar to Southern California.

It wasn’t always a fait de accompli that Soto would wind up in San Diego. In fact, up until 24-hours ago, three teams appeared to be favored to land the 23-year-old from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Friars were all in the hunt for Soto.

Ahead of the 2022 season, Spotrac’s valuation tool calculated the ”Childish Gambino” to earn more than $500 million on his next contract. Since then, the Washington Nationals have tried to extend his contract a number of times.

First, they offered Soto a 13-year, $350 million ($23.33 million average annual value). Then they offered him $450 million over 15-years ($30 million AAV), but the 2019 World Series champion declined both offers.

This left the Nationals with no choice but to deal their most prized possession. By all accounts, it was going to take a haul for any team to buy the services of a 2-time All-Star, 2-time Silver Slugger, and 2020 batting champion.

In the end, the Padres had the most to give.

MacKenzie Gore and C.J. Abrams were both top draft picks for the Padres. The former was picked third in 2017 and the latter sixth in the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft. Robert Hassell III was their top prospect while James Wood was ranked No. 3. International prospect Jarlin Susana was their fourth best pitching prospect.

The Pressure Is On

The San Diego Padres began to indicate their intentions to contend in the National League West when they signed then-26-year-old third baseman Manny Machado to a 10-year, $360 million deal in 2019. At the time, it seemed far fetched that the Pads would ever be able to compete against the behemoth Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Since then, they have extended Fernando Tatis Jr. and acquired Mike Clevinger, Sean Manaea, and Blake Snell, among others.

Things have not gone as planned, however. Last season, the Padres collapsed toward the end of the year and missed the postseason.

Now, with the acquisition of Soto, San Diego has what might be the best 1-2-3 hitters in MLB.

Currently, the Padres have nearly three quarters of $1 billion locked up on just three players. Extending Soto will take them well beyond that mark. This will leave them with little maneuverability in the future.

For this reason, It is unlikely that Soto’s contract is extended before he hits free agency in 2025, which puts a lot of pressure on the organization to win a World Series before then.

The Padres have until 2024 to win the World Series or else the Juan Soto acquisition is a bust.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy this triumvirate of Dominicanos getting ready to light up SoCal.

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