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Juan Soto Thanks Nationals, Fans After Blockbuster Deadline Trade to Padres

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2022

The Washington Post

Superstar outfielder Juan Soto tweeted a message of thanks to the Washington Nationals and their fans early Wednesday morning following his pre-deadline trade to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.

In a series of tweets, Soto expressed gratitude for the Nats organization and the fans who supported him, while also mentioning the importance of helping Washington win its first World Series title in 2019:

Juan José Soto Pacheco @JuanSoto25_

Thank you to the Nationals organization for the opportunity to realize a childhood dream. I am forever grateful to my teammates and coaches, as well as the player development and training staffs. <a href="https://t.co/msrTSv48a1">pic.twitter.com/msrTSv48a1</a>

Juan José Soto Pacheco @JuanSoto25_

To my Nats Fans: since day one I’ve always had the feeling you would have a special space in my heart but the appreciation that I have for you went over my expectations. <br>Thank you for being such a great family to me. With Love &amp; Gratitude...Forever Yours, <br>Juan Soto

After Soto reportedly rejected multiple contract extension offers, the Nationals made him available via trade leading up to the deadline, and they sealed a blockbuster deal on Tuesday.

All told, the Nationals received a bevy of prospects and young players in shortstop C.J. Abrams, outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wood, and pitchers MacKenzie Gore and Jarlin Susana, as well as veteran first baseman Luke Voit in exchange for Soto and first baseman Josh Bell.

While the Nationals had to part ways with one of the game's great young stars in the 23-year-old Soto, their rebuild received a major jump-start in the form of multiple players who can contribute now and in the near future.

During at least parts of five seasons with the Nats, Soto left an indelible mark on the franchise.

He earned two All-Star selections, two Silver Slugger awards, one batting title and won a World Series in 2019. Also, in one of his final appearances in a Nationals uniform, he won the 2022 Home Run Derby.

In 2018, Soto came out firing and finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. He followed that with a career-high 34 home runs and 110 RBI the next season en route to winning the World Series.

In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Soto won the batting title with a .351 average and led the NL with a .490 on-base percentage and .695 slugging percentage.

Last season, Soto finished second in the NL MVP voting when he slashed .313/.465/.534 with 29 homers and 95 RBI.

He got off to a slow start this season, but he has turned things around over the past month and is slashing .246/.408/.485 with 21 home runs and 46 RBI.

Despite his solid play, the Nationals are just 36-69 this season and seem in line for a long rebuild, which is partially why the Soto trade made sense despite the fact that he could have been the face of the franchise for years had he signed a new deal.

The trade instantly changes Soto's outlook as well since he is headed to a Padres team in the thick of the playoff race with a 60-46 record.

Soto will join a stacked lineup that will eventually include Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., the latter of whom is working his way back from a wrist injury.

The Padres have the pieces to be contenders in 2022 and beyond, and Soto could turn out to be the player who helps them win their first World Series in franchise history.

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