3. SAN DIEGO PADRES
This list is in no particular order, but if there was an order, I think it’s pretty clear which team would have ended up in first place. The San Diego Padres did a monumental blockbuster to accentuate what was already a great trade deadline.
Let’s start with what they did closer to the deadline however… They locked up ace starting pitcher Joe Musgrove for 5 years/$100 million. Musgrove was on his way to being the most in-demand starting pitcher on the upcoming free agent market, but now he will stay in San Diego long-term instead. The Miami Marlins did something similar and for less money, when we locked up ace Sandy Alcantara last off-season for 5 years/$55 million.
The San Diego Padres finally shed the bad contract of 1B Eric Hosmer, shipping him to the Boston Red Sox for a lottery ticket prospect. They will however have to pay most of his salary, which is a bit of an issue. Ironically, I suggested this swap for the Miami Marlins before.
Let’s now turn to the blockbuster trade that rocked the trade deadline. The San Diego Padres acquired RF Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals. Not just Soto, but 1B Josh Bell as well. Bell is having a career year, batting .301/.384/.493 in 103 games and 375 AB’s. He’s a massive upgrade over Hosmer, who is batting .272/.336/.391 in 90 games and 335 AB’s. They traded Luke Voit as well, with the DH batting .225/.317/.416 in 82 games and 298 AB’s.
Juan Soto is a future Hall of Famer at his current career pace and so it was a stunner that it was the San Diego Padres that acquired him. The once overlooked team are now major players on the trade and free agency markets, pairing Soto up with SS Fernando Tatis Jr., recently signed to a 14 year/$340 million extension, and 3B Manny Machado, signed for 10 years and $300 million in free agency.
Having Soto, Tatis and Machado in the middle of the batting order is truly spectacular. San Diego did of course empty out their farm on a way, and will likely trade Soto before he hits free agency, but this is an amazing win-now move.
The Miami Marlins can learn a lot from these teams. The San Diego Padres in particular have been a small to mid-market team not known for spending, and then went all-out in the last few years. There’s no reason why The Fish playing in a big market can’t do the same. If not, we need new ownership.