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The Nationals got fleeced in the Juan Soto trade and it’s unfortunate the Blue Jays weren’t involved

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Photo credit:Brad Mills/USA Today Sports
Paul Berthelot
5 months ago
The Padres have shocked the baseball world by acquiring superstar Juan Soto from the Nationals. Jeff Passas has the full deal…
The Major League player in the deal is Eric Hosmer (maybe..?). From reports, it seems like the Nationals are going to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s salary for this season while the Padres are going to pay the remaining 3 years and $39M owed after this year. Let’s go through this deal because on the surface this looks like a really light deal for one of the top five players in the league.
I don’t think we really need to discuss Soto here. He is an elite player, a modern-day Ted Williams with his combination of plate discipline and power. FanGraphs in their recent trade value series ranked him as the sixth most valuable player in baseball (and just three spots ahead of Vladimir Guerrero Jr.).
The Padres gave up a boat load of prospects, listed below with their future value from Fangraphs and their top 100 placement on Fangraphs list.
  • SS C.J. Abrams (60 FV, #11)
  • OF Robert Hassell III (50 FV, #41)
  • OF James Wood (50 FV, #66)
  • LHP MacKenzie Gore (50 FV, #77)
  • RHP Jarlin Susana (40+ FV, #8 on San Deigo’s prospect list)
That works out to be four top 100 prospects, two of which (Abrams and Gore) have reached the Majors and realistically jump right into Washington’s lineup and rotation. This still feels light especially when considering the Padres were able to rid themselves of Hosmer while upgrading on him with Josh Bell.
This is also a stark difference then what had seen reported as to what the Nationals were looking for from other teams.
For the Blue Jays, the holdup seemed to be on the inclusion of Bo Bichette. In looking at that trade there is no Bichette type of player in there. In that Trade Value Series from FanGraphs, Bichette was rated at the 21st most valuable player. Asking for a player of Bichette’s caliber makes sense for the Nationals, if you are going to move Juan freaking Soto, you would expect to be getting back at least one young successful MLB player. The Padres don’t have a young player really similar to Bichette, on that list they had Jake Cronenworth at #31 and Trent Grisham was listed as a honourable mention (plus Fernando Tatis Jr. at #3). It’s certainly a little surprising one of those players wasn’t in this deal, even though both are older and haven’t been as good as Bichette.
So what would this package have looked like from a Blue Jays perspective? Personally, I think it would look something like this. Rankings here from MLB Pipeline’s top 100 list.
  • C Gabriel Moreno (60 FV, #5)
  • 3B Orelvis Martinez (50 FV, #34)
  • P Ricky Tiedemann (45+ FV, #61)
  • SS Jordan Groshans (45 FV, #82)
  • RHP CJ Van Eyk (40+ FV, #8 on Blue Jays prospect list)
Some of the prospect writers on here might have a little better insight into how comparable these players are, but to me, this seems at least in the right ballpark. That’s the Blue Jays’ top four prospects, Moreno matches Abrams as the young up-and-coming stud. Tiedemann isn’t quite Gore but is fast rising and could be in the big leagues soon. Groshans is on the cusp of the big leagues, while Martinez is further away looking like he could be an impact bat down the line. It’s a lot to give up certainly, but for Juan Soto, you make that trade 100 times out of 100.
As far as the Hosmer piece, that would be similar to the Blue Jays getting rid of Yusei Kikuchi, a below-average player who hasn’t really lived up to the contract that he signed with the team in free agency. That said, the Blue Jays probably don’t want to dump Kikuchi this soon, and also don’t really have a major need for Josh Bell. So, if the Blue Jays were hypothetically making this trade, the Hosmer part is moot and they would likely instead ask for a reliever in return.
Regardless if that was all it took for the Padres to land Juan Soto, the Blue Jays (and 28 other teams) should have made that deal. Prospects are for poor people, flags fly forever. Let’s just hope we see the Blue Jays make a big splash of their own before the day is over.

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