The day Nationals fans have dreaded for weeks is finally here. Juan Soto is no longer a Washington National.
The Nationals agreed to trade the 23-year-old All-Star to the San Diego Padres before Tuesday night’s 6 PM trade deadline. The Nats also traded Josh Bell, arguably the second-most productive Nats player this year behind Soto.
In return, the Nationals are set to receive shortstop CJ Abrams, outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wood, and pitchers Jarlin Susana and MacKenzie Gore for Soto and Bell. Four of the players coming to the Nationals are ranked as the Padres’ current top five prospects. Fangraphs described Abrams, possibly the marquee player in the Nationals haul, as “electrifying” as he’s quickly risen through the Padres farm system since 2019.
The Padres have also agreed to send first baseman and designated hitter Luke Voit to the Nationals as well. While Gore and Abrams have both played in the majors this year, Voit is the only player the Nationals will receive that has had significant playing time in the majors. During his eight-year career, Voit has played for the Cardinals, Yankees, and Padres. He led the majors with 22 home runs in the abbreviated, 60-game 2020 season.
Trade offers heated up for Soto after he declined a 15-year, $440 million extension offer from the Nationals last month. Soto will have two years left on his current contract with the Padres before becoming a free agent in 2025.
Soto’s homer last night off of former Nats star Max Scherzer was the final exclamation point on the brief but incredible four-and-a-half year stint he had with the Nationals. Since breaking into the league in 2018, Soto hit 119 home runs, finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2018, received MVP votes three times, won two silver slugger awards, and was a two-time All-Star.
Most importantly, he helped lead the Nationals to their first World Series Championship in 2019, with an unforgettable go-ahead home run off of Astros ace Justin Verlander in Houston. The Nationals were facing elimination—down 3 games to 2 at that point—and Soto’s blast helped the Nationals tie up the World Series and force a game 7. The Nats went on to win game 7.
Now, Nats fans look to the future. Cole Henry, a 23-year-old starting pitcher and the Nat’s #2 pre-trade prospect, is projected to be called up by the end of the season. The Nats #1 pre-trade prospect, Cade Cavalli, was the fastest thrower in the 2021 Futures Game, reaching 102 mph. He is expected to make his debut next season.
Fans hoping to catch one last glimpse of Soto before he heads off to the west coast are in luck, as the Padres come to DC to play the Nationals next weekend for a three game set from Friday, August 12 through Sunday, August 14.