Washington Nationals: Juan Soto And Josh Bell Traded To San Diego
Since rejecting a 15-year, $440 million extension earlier in the season, the writing was on the wall for Juan Soto’s time in D.C. Now he and Josh Bell are heading to San Diego.
In the last year, the Washington Nationals have traded away Trea Turner, Max Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber, Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison, Jon Lester, Ehire Adrianza, Brad Hand, and Daniel Hudson. Add Juan Soto and Josh Bell to that list. After months of trade speculation, the Soto saga has finally ended — with the superstar alongside Bell heading to San Diego.
In return, the Nats are receiving shortstop C.J. Abrams, pitchers MacKenzie Gore and Jarlin Susana, and outfielders James Wood and Robert Hassell iii. Veteran Eric Hosmer was also initially in the deal, but he used his no-trade clause to block it. In his place is veteran Luke Voit.
The Nationals received four players who were or are currently on MLB Pipelines Top 100 prospects. Both Abrams and Gore are already in the majors, while Hassell and Wood are the Padre’s first and third-ranked prospects and 23rd and 88th overall per MLB Pipeline. Susana was the Padres 14th-ranked prospect. He’s only 18, but is 6’6 and can car98mph into late innings.
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An International free agent in 2015, Soto flew up the Nats farm system — making his MLB debut in 2018. With Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, and Daniel Murphy all in the lineup — it was the 19-year-old Soto who stole the show. He finished the season in second in NL Rookie of the Year voting — slashing .292/.406/.517, with 22 homers, 70 RBIs, and an OPS of .923.
The next season, Soto proved his rookie campaign wasn’t a fluke, posting career highs in homers (34) and RBIs (110). His success carried over into the playoffs — producing the game-winning hit in the 2019 Wild Card game. A bases-clearing single off of All-Star closer Josh Hader. That was just the beginning of his clutch hits — taking Clayton Kershaw deep in Game Five of the NLDS to tie the game at three.
Then with the entire baseball world Watching, Soto introduced himself with a bang, taking Gerrit Cole deep in Game 1 of the World Series. In their seven-game series against the Astros, Soto slashed .333/.438/.741, with three homers, seven RBIs, and an OPS of 1.178.
While the Nationals went on a downward spiral after winning the World Series, Soto continued to improve, winning his first batting title in 2020 and following that up by finishing second in NL MVP voting last year. In his five seasons with the Nats, Soto slashed .291/.427/.538, with 119 homers, 358 RBIs, and an OPS of .966.
He racked up the accolades in his short time in D.C. — a two-time all-star, named to the All MLB-First team twice and the second time once while winning a batting title and two silver sluggers.
Josh Bell only spent two seasons in D.C., but was able to reestablish himself as one of the best first basemen in the game. This year he was leading the team in RBIs (57), batting average (.301), doubles (24), and SLG (.493), and was second in homers (14), OPS (.877), and wRC+ (142).
There was never going to be a return that was worth someone of Soto’s magnitude and while some might feel this return is light, the Nationals just drastically improved their weak farm system.