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Juan Soto: 'I Wish Good Luck to the Other Pitchers' Facing Padres Lineup

Adam WellsAugust 3, 2022

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Juan Soto sent a clear message to opposing pitchers who will be facing the new-look San Diego Padres lineup.

"It's going to be really exciting," Soto told reporters when asked about San Diego's offense. "I wish good luck to the other pitchers."

The Padres pulled off one of the biggest blockbuster trades in Major League Baseball history on Tuesday. They acquired Soto and Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals for six players, including C.J. Abrams, MacKenzie Gore and top prospect Robert Hassell III.

It was a massive return for the Nationals, with The Athletic's Keith Law calling it "the biggest prospect haul in a single trade in my lifetime" and "the best" deal general manager Mike Rizzo could have gotten under the circumstances.

Coming into the season, MLB.com ranked Abrams, Hassell and Gore as top 100 prospects. James Wood, who was also in the deal, is currently the No. 88 prospect in baseball.

But the Padres did it knowing they were bringing in one of the best players in the sport during his age-23 season and adding Bell, who is having a career year, to boost a lineup that needed plenty of help as they chase a playoff spot.

Soto and Bell will likely play right field and first base, respectively, in San Diego.

MLB @MLB

This Padres lineup is loaded. πŸ‘€ <a href="https://t.co/sQJhH6W1IG">pic.twitter.com/sQJhH6W1IG</a>

Padres right fielders have a .233/.286/.323 slash line with three homers and 39 RBI in 378 at-bats this season. Their first basemen are hitting .266/.339/.406 with 10 homers and 52 RBI in 402 at-bats.

In total, the Padres offense had a league average wRC+ (100) as previously constructed, per FanGraphs.

Soto is hitting .246/.408/.485 with 21 homers, 46 RBI and 29 more walks (91) than strikeouts (62) in 436 plate appearances in 2022. Bell has a .301/.384/.493 slash line with 14 homers and 57 RBI.

On top of the likely improvement at those two positions, All-Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. looks to be moving closer toward making his 2022 debut. He faced live pitching for the first time all season Monday and could go out on a rehab assignment as soon as Friday.

Add all the pieces together, and the Padres lineup is going to have very few easy outs going into the stretch run. They still have 12 games remaining against the Los Angeles Dodgers, so it's not impossible for them to make up their 12-game deficit in the NL West.

But the additions of Soto and Bell were done to prepare this roster for a potential deep run in October. It certainly looks like a brilliant move on paper. Fans will get their first taste of what it will look like on Wednesday when the Padres host the Colorado Rockies.

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