Juan Soto and Josh Hader make Padres the crew to beat within the NL


It was the Padres, not the Dodgers, who landed the trade deadline’s biggest prize

It was the Padres, not the Dodgers, who landed the commerce deadline’s largest prize
Illustration: AP

Los Angeles Dodger followers needs to be afraid — very afraid — of the San Diego Padres.

Not simply this season, however for years to return.

With out query, the Padres turned their fortunes from good to nice with the trade-deadline addition of Juan Soto, who at simply 23 is taken into account the most effective younger hitter within the sport.

It ought to have an enduring impact within the Nationwide League West. For positive, the little brother Padres have grown up and received’t be pushed round by the Dodgers anymore.

Up till final season, the Dodgers had received the division eight occasions in a row.

Shifting ahead, there’s no means you’ll be able to take a look at each rosters and never assume that the Padres will change all of that in a rush.

And whereas the Padres won’t catch the Dodgers for the NL West crown this season — L.A. has an unlimited 11½-game lead — they are going to be a menace within the postseason.

In addition, the Padres additionally landed Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals within the Soto commerce. The primary baseman is having a stellar season, batting .301 with 14 HRs and 57 RBI.

The Padres’ roster is horrifying good. It’s unimaginable to not discover and look in awe — even for folks in L.A.

“We really feel like we’re higher,” Padres GM A.J. Preller mentioned to the media after swinging the blockbuster deal. “Clearly, he’s Juan Soto — he speaks for himself. What he’s accomplished at 23 years outdated and the kind of expertise he’s, he’s arguably the most effective hitter in baseball. That needs to be an enormous assist for our membership.”

In truth, many imagine that with the addition of Soto and with famous person shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. — who can be simply 23 — getting back from damage, the Padres have changed the Dodgers as World Collection favorites popping out of the Nationwide League.

And earlier than you inform folks to pump the breaks and never be a prisoner of the second, these scorching on the Padres have a proper to imagine this crew can get there on the finish.

Regardless of not having Tatis Jr. all season, the Padres didn’t collapse and hung within the postseason race. Coming into Wednesday, they held the second wild-card spot within the NL.

That’s spectacular. Manny Machado put collectively a monster first half.

Even so, undecided many groups might accomplish that if their high canine was down all the season.

The place the New York Yankees be with out Aaron Decide? Not sitting atop baseball with the most effective file within the sport. That’s a reality.

Soto is a perennial MVP candidate. He broke out onto the scene in 2018 and led the Nationals to a World Collection title in 2019. Soto was the Collection MVP. In his profession, Soto is thought for his energy and plate self-discipline. He’ll take walks if not pitched to. It’s exhausting to show a younger hitter that trait. His profession slash line is .291/.427/.538.

The Padres had been capable of seize Soto after he turned down a 15-year, $440 million deal provided by the Nationals. Soto doesn’t turn into a free agent till after the 2024 season.

The Padres additionally picked up dominant nearer Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers. He has 29 saves on the season. Regardless of some bumps this 12 months, he’s pretty much as good because it will get when he’s proper.

And let’s not neglect concerning the Padres’ beginning rotation, which ranks fourth within the NL. Yu Darvish leads the workers with 10 wins. Joe Musgrove has a 2.65 ERA. This isn’t a beer league crew the place the Padres want to attain 10 runs an evening so as to win video games.

The roster is balanced and able to successful on the mound or on the plate.

“We undoubtedly have the expertise, and now we have the crew to do it,” Tatis Jr. mentioned. “Now, it’s as much as us to place the work on the market and make it occur.”

On paper, the Padres have put collectively a crew that may severely contend for the franchise’s first World Collection title in its 54-year existence.

Nevertheless it’s not simply an all-in final gasp at reaching their final objective. Not by an extended shot. If Soto is signed long-term like Tatis already is, they are going to be an issue for a very long time. Dodger followers know that. That’s why they’re lastly fearful of the Padres.



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