A dream scenario for the New York Mets and their fans is now off the table, as the Washington Nationals have traded superstar outfielder Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres in a blockbuster trade.
The full deal is the Padres acquired outfielder Juan Soto and infielder Josh Bell in exchange for infielder C.J. Abrams, James Wood, Robert Hassell III, Jarlin Susana, and Mackenzie Gore. The Padres coughed up three of their top four prospects, a pitcher who just made the big leagues and was a top 100 prospect, another top 10 prospect, and an expendable first baseman.
Now, there are lots of takes out there, particularly for Mets fans, but the Mets just simply could not pay the price for Soto, and Mets fans should breathe for a second and focus on what the team needs going forward.
The Mets did not have the requisite pieces needed to make a once-in-a-generation acquisition for Juan Soto.
The Padres simply weren’t going to get Soto without a king’s ransom, and the Padres were rewarded with developing a farm system good enough to give themselves a chance to acquire the premier talents in baseball. And the Padres deserve credit for that.
The Mets would have had to give up a package that has been equivalent to Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio, Alex Ramirez, and Tylor Megill. That’s the Mets’ top four prospects and a young controllable arm with success in the major leagues. The Mets would have been under a lot of pressure to win this year, or it would have sent the franchise (especially the farm system) back for years.
The cost probably would have been more to the Mets than it would have from the Padres because of the two teams in the same division, even further reason why the Mets missed out on Soto.
The Mets were also wise not to pay the hefty price for Juan Soto.
As talented as Soto is, this would have been contradictory to what Steve Cohen wants in a farm system, meaning being perennially strong. It is a farm system the Mets have been trying to rebuild after the disastrous tenure of Brodie Van Wagenen (and Jeff Wilpon, really) running the baseball operations.
It takes more than just one player to win championships. The Padres have a roster that is already a World Series contender this season and the next two (making up the rest of Soto’s deal). Winning titles in team sports takes more than just one elite player, and baseball is an unforgiving one for sustained championship success. It’s been two decades since a team repeated as World Series winners. Who knows if the Mets will even have Jacob deGrom next season?
The Padres’ trade for Juan Soto will be judged on whether they win a World Series with Soto. The Mets culture and team chemistry was just too good to allow an outside alpha male dominate the conversation. And the Mets have a ton of pending free agents after this season.
This is also something I’ve thought about for two weeks concerning Juan Soto. Soto is on a trajectory to be one of the greatest players ever. Take out all the Yankees legends (Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, etc.), and the five greatest players would be Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds (steroids a question obviously), and Ty Cobb.
In the 111 combined seasons they played, they won a combined 2 championships. Mays and Aaron both won their titles in their fourth season, while the others lost in Game 7 of the World Series once, leaving them without rings. Just because you get one all-time great talent doesn’t automatically translate into championships.
But, can Juan Soto pitch? Trading a Soto-esque package for Shohei Ohtani makes more sense because of his two-way contributions.