Juan Soto, Josh Bell traded to Padres (source)

The Padres have built up their roster, one blockbuster after another, and general manager AJ Preller has his biggest coup yet.

he is finalizing a deal to make john soto for St. Diego Sr.

In one of the sport’s most monumental trades in recent memory, the Padres are ready to send a shortstop CJ Abramslefty Mackenzie Gore And some very interesting possibilities for the Nationals in exchange for Soto and first baseman Josh Bell, sources told MLB.com. The deal has not been finalized or confirmed by either team.

Eric Hosmer It was initially believed to be moving from San Diego to Washington as part of the deal, but the Padres were first basemen. refused to waive its no-trade clause And is instead on the verge of being dealt with by the Red Sox, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. According to Feinsand, Hosmer’s decision to use his no-trade clause is not expected to prevent Soto and Bell from dealing with the Padres.

Soto, a generational slugger who is under contract through the 2024 season, will join a group in San Diego that already includes Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. The Padres sit 12 games over .500 squarely in a wild card spot, eyes on their first World Series title. But, with a serious power crunch, they have spent the last few months looking for outfield upgrades.

It’s hard to imagine anything bigger than this. Soto, 23, a perennial MVP candidate who burst onto the scene in 2018 before leading the Nationals to the World Series title in 2019, is a career .291/.427/.538 hitter. He blends elite power with elite plate discipline like probably no other player in the game.

6-foot-6 Susannah, the top-ranked pitcher in the 2021-22 International class, is set to rank significantly higher than 14th in San Diego’s system after the Deadline prospect rankings on the strength of an impressive performance in the rookie ball. Wright has scored 44 runs in 29 1/3 innings and posted a 2.45 ERA.

The Nationals made Soto available after both sides were unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension, with Soto turning down the team’s 15-year, $440 million offer in July. Soto is eligible to test free agency after the 2024 season.

After signing with the Nats as an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2015, Soto made his MLB debut in 2018 and went on to stir up some of baseball’s all-time greats with his performances, including one of the best hitters in the game. established himself as one. at such a young age.

Soto hit .301/.432/.550 (160 ops+) in his first four seasons, finished second in the 2018 National League Rookie of the Year race behind Braves Ronald Acuna Jr. and achieved two top-five finishes Did it NL MVP voting, with former teammate Bryce Harper in second place in 2021.

Despite his youth, Soto was taken aback by the big moment when the Nets arrived in the postseason in 2019. The left-handed slugger hit five homers in those playoffs, including three in the World Series, as Washington won the first title in franchise history. The Nets’ Game 7 defeated the Astros at the Fall Classic just days after Soto’s 21st birthday.

Soto won the NL batting title during the brief 2020 season with a .351 average, but Washington went from worst to first, finishing fifth in the NL East. Despite Soto’s excellent output, the Nets struggled again in 2021 and began rebuilding by trading several heavyweights who were crucial to their World Series championship, including Max Scherzer and Tree Turner.

It has been the same for Washington in 2022, though Soto continues to make his presence felt, earning his second All-Star selection and winning the home run derby at Dodger Stadium on July 18.

Drafted by the Pirates in the second round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Bell ranked as one of the game’s top prospects during his minor league tenure and established himself as a productive hitter when he reached the Majors in 2016. did. In his first three seasons, he slipped .260/.348/.436 with 41 homers and 171 RBIs and finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year race in 2017.

The 2019 season saw Bell break out as he batted at .277/.367/.569 with 37 homers and 116 RBI for his first All-Star nod. The slugger, however, closed in the second half, and his struggle continued into the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, when he hit .226/.305/.364 with a career-high 26.5% strike rate.

After the season, the Pirates traded Bell to the Nationals, the latter hoping the former All-Star could regain his form. It took some time, but eventually he finished the 2021 season with a .261/.347/.476 slash line with 27 homers and 88 RBIs.

That success has lasted until this year, with Bell batting. 301/.384/.493. He finished third in the National League in multihit games on Tuesday, fourth in base percentage, fifth in batting average, sixth in hits, seventh in weighted base average (WOBA) and OPS and eighth in weighted runs. (WRC+). He is hitting .285 against left-handers and .311 against right-wingers.

Bell has made significant defensive improvements this year as well. After platooning at first base with Ryan Zimmerman in 2021, he earned a career-best three defensive runs saved in an everyday role; She had never posted a positive figure before.

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