Nationals star slugger Soto traded to Padres: reports

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Washington Nationals slugger Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell were traded to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday at the Major League Baseball trade deadline, according to multiple reports.

MLB Network, the MLB's website and ESPN all reported that Soto and Bell will be traded for first baseman Eric Hosmer, shortstop C.J. Abrams, pitcher MacKenzie Gore and three prospects in a monumental deal that boosts San Diego's title hopes.

Soto, who helped the Nationals win the 2019 World Series, was MLB's hottest trade prospect since the 23-year-old Dominican outfielder rejected a 15-year contract extension worth $440 million last month.

He joins a Padres team powered by top-hitting infielders Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. that owns a 58-46 record.

While San Diego trails the Los Angeles Dodgers by 12 games in the National League West division, the club is in a wildcard playoff position. The Nationals, 35-69, have MLB's worst record.

The Padres lost their only two World Series appearances, in 1984 and 1998, and have reached the playoffs only once since 2006, falling to the Dodgers two years ago in the division series after their only winning season since 2010.

Soto, who is set to become a free agent after the 2024 season, has a career .291 batting average with 119 home runs and 358 runs batted in over five seasons.

The two-time All-Star was the 2020 National League batting champion with a .351 average and won last month's Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star Game.

At age 21, Soto hit three homers in the 2019 World Series to help spark the Nationals to victory in a seven-game showdown with Houston.

Bell, 29, is batting .301, a career-high, with 14 homers and 57 RBI for the Nats this season, his second in Washington after five seasons in Pittsburgh. His contract expires after the current campaign.

More trades were expected in the final hours before the MLB's season trade deadline Tuesday evening.

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