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NL Exec: Padres 'In Danger of Entering Angels Territory' After Juan Soto Trade

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2022

The Washington Post

Not everyone is sold on the San Diego Padres' trade for Juan Soto.

One National League executive wondered if the Padres are building too much of a top-heavy roster around Soto, Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr.

"San Diego is in danger of entering Angels territory within the next few years," the executive told Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. "A strong top-third of the roster with below-average depth behind it due to a series of system-busting trades."

The Padres traded MacKenzie Gore, C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Wood, Jarlin Susana and Luke Voit to the Nationals in exchange for Soto and Josh Bell, a deal that's been described as one of the biggest prospect hauls in baseball history.

Gore and Abrams are former top prospects who made their MLB debuts this season, and Hassell is a quality outfield prospect who could be ready for a call-up next season. Wood and Susana are both teenagers still getting their feet wet with pro ball, but Wood has looked like a promising outfielder in his limited time in Single-A.

That said, none of the players given up have a ceiling that even remotely touches that of Soto, who is one of baseball's premier players at age 23. The All-Star is a generational talent, gifted with a combination of power and eye at the plate that is borderline unheard of for someone his age.

With Soto and Tatis, the Padres have arguably the game's two brightest under-25 stars. Locking up Soto before he hits free agency will be expensive—he'll likely seek to become the highest-paid player in MLB history—but would give the Padres the best one-two punch in the sport for at least the next decade.

Whether San Diego's World Series pursuit proves fruitful may simply depend on how much ownership is willing to spend. If the Tatis-Soto-Machado-Bell top of the lineup is kept together for the foreseeable future, there aren't many—if any—teams that can compete with that level of talent.

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