Padres Push In All Their Chips, Agree to Deal for Juan Soto and Josh Bell

Juan Soto
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After months of rumors and loud whispering, the mega-trade for Juan Soto has finally happened, with the winner being the San Diego Padres. It’s hard to overstate the impact of a trade like this; while stars are always traded, Soto is a very young and already quite accomplished player with generational-type talent, and players in that category do not change uniforms by trade all that often. I’m already tempted to type this piece in all capital letters, damaging the eyes of our esteemed editors; the Padres adding an excellent rental in Josh Bell just makes it an even harder test for my willpower.

The stable of talent sent to Washington is impressive, as it should be. Heading to D.C. are starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore, shortstop C.J. Abrams, outfielder Robert Hassell III, outfielder James Wood, pitcher Jarlin Susana, and first baseman Eric Hosmer. For the Nationals, any lingering concerns that someone would have to take Patrick Corbin, thus reducing the value of the return significantly, have now safely evaporated, and they’ll now have to turn to other options there. The Padres even fulfilled Washington’s desire to include a major leaguer who can help the team win games right now in the form of Gore. There are still issues to iron out with Hosmer’s no-trade clause, but for now, we’re going to look at this trade with the assumption that this works out, one way or the other. One possibility is an effort to get a third team into the mix, one that is interested in Hosmer’s services and not on his no-trade list, or at least a team he’d be more willing to waive the clause to join. Who that would be exactly is a tricky question; maybe the Royals?

UPDATE: Hosmer has officially vetoed his move to Washington, though the trade will still go ahead without his involvement. San Diego now has an interesting contract situation to resolve this afternoon.

UPDATE 2: Hosmer is now heading to Boston, per multiple reports, with fellow first baseman Luke Voit now part of the Soto trade in his stead.

UPDATE 3: The deal is now official: Soto and Bell for Voit, Gore, Hassell III, Wood, and Susana.

To wet your whistle — my colleague Ben Clemens will be around shortly with a full rundown of the particulars of this trade, and Eric Longenhagen will run through the prospects — here are some projections which I swear aren’t fan service. (Year-by-year projections for Wood and Susana are unfortunately beyond ZiPS’ scope at this stage of their careers.) Some may be disappointed that Soto’s numbers aren’t quite what they were last year, but his defense looks worse and he’s not quite at his normal level of offense. But considering ZiPS has only “downgraded” his top comp to Carl Yastrzemski, it’s still a great projection!

ZiPS Projection – Juan Soto
Year BA OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OPS+ DR WAR
2023 .284 .446 .545 517 113 147 29 2 34 104 152 107 14 172 -6 6.6
2024 .283 .450 .550 509 114 144 30 2 34 104 156 110 14 174 -7 6.6
2025 .280 .453 .555 503 115 141 29 2 35 105 160 113 15 176 -7 6.7
2026 .277 .455 .554 495 114 137 28 2 35 103 163 114 13 177 -7 6.6
2027 .273 .457 .551 479 112 131 27 2 34 99 163 112 13 177 -8 6.4
2028 .271 .453 .541 468 107 127 26 2 32 94 156 106 13 173 -8 6.0
2029 .269 .451 .531 450 101 121 24 2 30 89 150 99 12 170 -8 5.5
2030 .264 .443 .516 436 94 115 23 3 27 82 141 93 12 164 -9 4.8
2031 .260 .432 .487 423 85 110 21 3 23 74 128 86 10 153 -9 3.8
2032 .257 .420 .467 405 77 104 19 3 20 67 115 77 9 145 -10 2.9

ZiPS Projection – MacKenzie Gore
Year W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ WAR
2023 8 6 4.14 30 27 137.0 128 63 14 64 135 105 2.1
2024 8 7 4.02 31 28 143.3 129 64 15 66 144 108 2.3
2025 8 6 3.96 30 27 141.0 124 62 14 63 144 110 2.4
2026 8 6 3.96 27 25 127.3 112 56 13 57 130 110 2.2
2027 7 5 3.92 26 24 124.0 108 54 13 55 129 111 2.1

ZiPS Projection – C.J. Abrams
Year BA OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OPS+ DR WAR
2023 .254 .308 .371 464 68 118 27 0 9 48 27 104 16 80 3 1.7
2024 .261 .316 .397 448 68 117 28 0 11 50 27 97 16 89 4 2.3
2025 .259 .319 .403 459 71 119 30 0 12 53 31 105 16 91 4 2.5
2026 .259 .320 .412 459 72 119 31 0 13 55 32 107 15 94 4 2.6
2027 .259 .323 .420 459 74 119 32 0 14 57 34 109 15 96 4 2.9
2028 .258 .324 .419 453 73 117 31 0 14 57 35 110 15 97 4 2.9

ZiPS Projection – Robert Hassell III
Year BA OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OPS+ DR WAR
2023 .242 .301 .385 499 67 121 24 1 15 66 41 133 16 82 -3 1.0
2024 .247 .309 .402 478 67 118 25 2 15 67 42 125 16 88 -3 1.3
2025 .255 .320 .429 483 71 123 26 2 18 74 45 122 16 97 -3 2.0
2026 .254 .323 .435 481 73 122 26 2 19 75 48 123 16 100 -4 2.1
2027 .255 .326 .445 479 73 122 27 2 20 76 50 124 15 103 -4 2.3
2028 .252 .326 .436 473 73 119 26 2 19 75 51 123 14 101 -4 2.1

Much more to come.





Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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Glewismember
2 months ago

As a Nats fan, I can simultaneously understand that this is one of the biggest prospect packages ever and feel that its not close to enough. Merrill or Zavala. Morejon. I wanted more.

tz
2 months ago
Reply to  Glewis

I think the Bell for Hosmer (or equivalent) upgrade is at least worth something. The bottom line is that you had to look at the deal being 2 1/2 years of Soto for the best possible package, unless you could find a trade partner that felt super sure they’d lock him up long-term.

That said, this is a (very bittersweet) win for the Nats, given that the Soto-in-Washington ship had finished sailing.

Ivan_Grushenkomember
2 months ago
Reply to  Glewis

I totally agree. There really isn’t a prospect deal that would have satisfied me if I were a Nats fan.

jdr
2 months ago
Reply to  Glewis

Concur. It’s a lot, and yet at the same time not nearly enough and everyone knows it.

shultz
2 months ago
Reply to  Glewis

It doesn’t appear that Soto wanted to be in Washington. Once the league realizes that, you get less for him than you would have otherwise. The Nats got the most they could for him while he still had multiple years on his contract. And the reason San Diego won the bidding war is presumably because they offered more for Soto than anyone else. If no one is offering any more than that, you can’t get any more than that.

Shalesh
2 months ago
Reply to  Glewis

What would you have considered fair value?

-3 years of Chris Sale went for a 65 (Moncada) and 55 (Kopech) + $31M for Moncada’s contract.
-2 years of Matt Olson went for 2 50’s (Langeliers and Pache).

2.5 years of Soto + $39M (Hosmer’s contract) goes for a 60 and 3 50’s*. I know Zips’ projections on the prospects look pedestrian, but projections on prospects are supposed to look that way. Getting 4 of the top 100 gives the Nats a high probability of one of them becoming a perennial 3+ win player and 1 or 2 more of them becoming at least tradeable role players. It would have been nice to get a higher-ceiling 65, but the highest prospect on THE BOARD right now is only a 60 and I don’t think the Orioles want to trade Rutschman or the Mariners Julio Rodriguez.

*40+ Susana is a bit higher for Bell than the Diamondbacks giving up 40 Dawel Lugo for rental JD Martinez back in 2017. I think some of the premium goes for taking Hosmer’s contract which I would view as the prospect value trading for 3 years of a 2-win player — which would probably be something like 2 40+’s and a 40.

sadtrombonemember
2 months ago
Reply to  Glewis

I am not certain about this but I am wondering if this is the biggest prospect package ever in major league history. Obviously in retrospect you can reassess it and say the return was bigger. But in terms of how the players were viewed at the time, the standard I always used was Teixeira and this is likely bigger than that.

Last edited 2 months ago by sadtrombone
Pepper Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Biggest prospect hauls (as they were thought of at the time) that I can remember:
Bartolo Colon for Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Lee Stevens (If I remember correctly Sizemore, Lee, and Phillips were all top-20 prospects at the time)
Mark Teixeira for Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Beau Jones
Brian Giles for Jason Bay, Oliver Perez, and Corey Stewart
Joe Carter for Sandy Alomar Jr., Carlos Baerga, and Chris James
JD Drew for Adam Wainwright, Jason Marquis, and Ray King
AJ Pierzynski for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser

JCCfromDCmember
2 months ago
Reply to  Pepper Martin

I can’t vouch for where they were ranked as prospects at the time, but the trade that I always think of is Glenn Davis for Curt Schilling, Steve Finley, AND Pete Harnisch. Ouch.

sadtrombonemember
2 months ago
Reply to  Pepper Martin

That first one is potentially the biggest prospect haul in retrospect. And if they were all considered Top 20 prospects then it would probably be the biggest one overall as seen at the time.

I don’t remember the exact listings of the other one but unless Sandy Alomar Jr. and Carlos Baerga were both considered Top 20 prospects I’m guessing this would slot in between the Colon deal and the others.

Left of Centerfield
2 months ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Only Phillips was a top 20 prospect at the time of the Colon trade. Baseball America had him at #20 for the 2002 season, which was the year the trade was made. Neither Sizemore nor Lee made the top 100 list. The following year, after the trade, BA has Phillips at #7 and Lee at #30. The year after that, Sizemore was #9.

jdr
2 months ago
Reply to  Pepper Martin

Yeah gotta go for the Colon trade. Even at the time people were aware that it was a huge haul. I don’t think this one matches up.

Last edited 2 months ago by jdr
Pepper Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Glewis

Here’s how I would look at this if I were a Nats fan:

I just got the Padres to trade me 4 of their top 5 prospects, plus another top 10 prospect in their system, for a guy hitting .246 who’s been the 4th worst defensive player in baseball this year, who’s tied in fWAR with Willy Adames, and has fewer home runs than CJ Cron. It’s highway robbery for a player who should already be DH’ing at age 23, and who’s closer to Yandy Diaz as a hitter than he is to Freddie Freeman.

cowdisciplemember
2 months ago
Reply to  Pepper Martin

Maybe that outlook will help Nats fans sleep tonight.

achidester
2 months ago
Reply to  Pepper Martin

as a Nats fan in mourning, I appreciate the creativity.

chartsengrafs
2 months ago
Reply to  Pepper Martin

Totally possible. We’ll see