The San Diego Padres made a huge statement in their bid to reach the World Series by agreeing on a deal to land the trade deadline’s biggest prize – All-Star outfielder Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals, according to two baseball officials with direct knowledge of the deal.
The officials spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the two teams were ironing out the final details of the blockbuster trade.
The Nationals will receive a package that includes left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore, shortstop CJ Abrams, outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wood and right-handed pitcher Jarlin Susana. The Padres will also receive first baseman Josh Bell, one of the top players available this trade season, in the deal.
Speculation surrounding a Soto trade had run rampant for several weeks as losses continued to mount and the Nationals’ ownership group began looking into selling the team.
The Padres will not only have Soto for this year’s playoff push, but for the next two seasons as well. He is eligible for salary arbitration in 2023 and 2024 before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. That’s one of the reasons the Nationals were able to extract such a high price for Soto’s services, even though he’ll command what could be a record salary in arbitration.
TRADE DEADLINE BLOG: Rumors, deals, analysis as the clock winds down
SPORTS NEWSLETTER: Get the latest news and analysis in your inbox
Earlier this season, Soto turned down a record-breaking 15-year, $440 million contract offer to stay with the Nationals. Even though the deal would have been the largest in baseball history, it would average $29.33 million per year – making him the 20th highest-paid player in annual value.
In his fifth MLB season, but still only 23, Soto already owns a World Series ring and a batting title, is a two-time All-Star and is the reigning Home Run Derby champion.
Soto has led the National League in on-base percentage twice and currently has a .246/.408/.485 slash line with 21 home runs, 62 runs scored and 46 RBI on a 35-69 Nationals squad that’s mired in last place in the NL East division, 31 games behind the New York Mets.
Contributing: Bob Nightengale
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Juan Soto traded: Padres acquire All-Star outfielder from Nationals