Juan Soto, Josh Bell traded to Padres in blockbuster Nationals deal

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Terrible news for Giants as Soto traded to rival Padres originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- Juan Soto is coming West, and that's terrible news for the Giants.

As had been expected since Soto became available just before the All-Star break, the San Diego Padres swung a blockbuster deal to bring perhaps the game's best hitter to the National League West. Soto will join Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado on a Padres club that has spent the last several seasons doing everything possible to take a run at a Los Angeles Dodgers team that has Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman atop the lineup.

The Padres traded first baseman/DH Luke Voit and left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore along with prospects CJ Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Wood and Jarlin Susana to Washington for Josh Bell and Soto.

MLB Network's Jon Morosi first reported the deal was agreed upon.

Soto, just 23, was perhaps the best asset ever available at MLB's trade deadline. He has drawn comparisons to Ted Williams since breaking into the big leagues as a 19-year-old and he has a .427 on-base percentage and 119 homers in five seasons. The 2022 season has been considered a "down" year of sorts for Soto, who has not seen many pitches to hit for a bad Nationals team, but he still has a .894 OPS and 21 homers.

The Nationals spent several years trying to lock him up long term, but they repeatedly came up short. Their last known offer was reportedly for $440 million and Soto turned them down. For the first time, he became available, and the Padres, Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals emerged as favorites as the deadline approached.

The Padres have consistently pushed their chips to the middle of the table under president of baseball operations A.J. Preller, who has now formed one of the most imposing young duos the game has ever seen. Tatis is also just 23 and is signed long-term, and the Padres now control Soto through the 2024 season. He joins a team with a good rotation, Machado having an MVP-like year, and Josh Hader coming in as the new closer.

RELATED: Flores all too familiar with nerves leading up to trade deadline

Life just got a lot more difficult for the rest of the NL West, particularly a Giants club that shocked the industry last season but has hovered around .500 this year, and has seen enough big-name prospects take a step back that a chase for Soto was never realistic.

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