Juan Soto trade details: Yankees land superstar from Padres in 7-player blockbuster deal

The Yankees have coveted a left-handed slugger for some time. They landed one of the most feared bats in the sport.

New York has acquired Padres outfielder Juan Soto in a major trade, instantly giving the Yankees one of the most enviable lineups in the sport.

It has been no secret that the Yankees have wanted to add a lefty power hitter. They’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to land options, having acquired sluggers like Jay Bruce, Franchy Cordero, Willie Calhoun, Joey Gallo and Andrew Benintendi, none of whom have worked out the way the team hoped. Anthony Rizzo and Matt Carpenter have been the team’s only reliable left-handed bats in recent years.

In landing Soto, the Yankees will get a young star whose rare combination of plate discipline and power at age 25 have elicited comparisons to Hall of Fame outfielder Ted Williams. 

Here’s what you need to know about the trade.

GRADES: Yankees, Padres pull off win-win deal as Juan Soto moves to the Bronx

Juan Soto trade details

  • Yankees acquire: OF Juan Soto, OF Trent Grisham
  • Padres acquire: RHP Michael King, RHP Drew Thorpe, RHP Jhony Brito, RHP Randy Vasquez, C Kyle Higashioka

Based on previous reports, the Padres will receive pitchers Michael King, Drew Thorpe, Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez, as well as catcher Kyle Higashioka in exchange for Soto and outfielder Trent Grisham.

The big piece is, of course, Soto headed to New York. The Yankees now add a feared bat behind Aaron Judge, and feature a powerful lineup that includes now Judge, Soto, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres, all of whom have had seasons with at least 30 home runs in a single campaign.

Grisham won’t bring much from an offensive perspective to the Yankees, but he does provide plenty of defense. He’s hit double-digit home runs in each of his four full seasons in the majors. However, his batting average has dipped below .200 in 2022 and 2023, and his on-base percentage was only as high as .315 in 2023. He has won a pair of Gold Gloves, coming in 2020 and 2022, and should help make up for New York’s lack of a true center fielder.

The Padres had moved plenty of star prospects to acquire Soto in 2022, and their return is significantly lessened now. The highlight of the package is right-handed pitcher Michael King, a 28-year-old righty who pitched to a 2.75 ERA in 104.2 innings in 2023, splitting time between the bullpen and rotation. King was used exclusively out of the bullpen in 2022 and pitched to a sterling 2.29 ERA in 34 appearances, but made nine starts in 49 appearances total in 2023.

MORE: Projecting the Yankees’ 2024 lineup with Juan Soto

Starter Jhony Brito enjoyed a breakout start to his MLB career, with back-to-back starts of five innings with only one run allowed in each of them. He found mixed results from there, but still put together a solid rookie campaign, pitching to a 4.28 ERA in 25 games (13 starts) spanning 90.1 innings. He struck out 19.4 percent of batters, walked 7.5 percent and allowed 1.39 home runs per nine innings. His fastball averaged 96 mph during the season, and he mixed in a solid changeup and a decent slider. At 25 years old, he’s another young arm the Padres could add to the rotation right away and who could replace swing-man Nick Martinez.

Randy Vasquez also made his MLB debut in 2023, and like Brito, enjoyed modest success, having a 2.87 ERA in 37.2 innings (11 games, five starts), though a 4.98 FIP hinted at regression. He fanned 19.9 percent of hitters and walked 10.8 percent. The 25-year-old right-hander has a solid four-pitch mix, headlined by a wicked curveball and a solid slider that complements his mid-90s fastball well. He also adds a changeup to his mix. Only 6-foot, some have speculated whether Vasquez might be bound for a relief role where his stuff might play better in shorter stints.

Also coming over is right-hander Drew Thorpe, who is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Yankees’ No. 6 prospect. New York’s second-round pick in 2022, Thorpe was outstanding in his first year of pro ball, delivering a 2.52 ERA between 18 starts in High-A (2.81 ERA) and five starts in Double-A (1.48). MLB Pipeline praises his ability to repeat his delivery and control his arsenal, which is described as having one of the best changeups from the 2022 class and a solid slider to pair with a low-90s fastball.

Perhaps the most surprising name in San Diego’s return is catcher Kyle Higashioka. He has been a reliable backstop for the Yankees over the past three seasons, having caught at least 80 games in back-to-back years and launched at least 10 homers in each of the past three seasons. But the Padres have need of catching depth, and the Yankees have Austin Wells coming up in the minors and Gold Glove-winner Jose Trevino on the roster, meaning Higashioka was expendable.

What Juan Soto trade means for Yankees

First and foremost, it means New York is poised to go all-in on 2024. Soto is in the final year of his contract, and he’s expected to test free agency after the season. And with massive, long-term contracts for Judge, Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Rodon still on the books, the once-high-spending Yankees might not be looking to add a deal that would likely top all the others.

The trade solves the biggest hole for the Yankees’ lineup: left-handed hitting. Since the start of the 2021 season, the Yankees rank 17th in the majors in team wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) by left-handed hitters, a puzzling problem for a team that plays in one of the most favorable parks for lefties in baseball.

Many will point to the short porch in right field as being beneficial for Soto. However, more than most batters, he has a tendency to spread the ball to all fields. He had a pull rate of 35.5 percent in 2023, below his center hit rate of 43.1 percent and just above his opposite field rate of 21.3 percent, per Baseball Savant.

Fortunately for the Yankees, it doesn’t matter where Soto hits the ball. All that matters is that he’ll hit the ball hard, and he’ll be the best supporting bat to play with Judge during the 2022 AL MVP’s career.

Defensively, Soto will almost certainly be shifted to right field, putting Judge in center and recent trade acquisition Alex Verdugo in left. Yankee Stadium’s left field can be tricky to navigate, and Soto is regarded as among the worst defensive outfielders in the sport with very limited range. 

What Soto lacks in defense, however, Grisham will make up for. Though his bat leaves plenty to be desired, he has twice earned Gold Gloves in his MLB career, and will reportedly be a late-inning defensive replacement in center. 

MORE: Why Juan Soto could be one-and-done with Yankees

What Juan Soto trade means for Padres

It’s no surprise to see the Padres moving on from Soto, who has been reportedly on the trade block since the start of the offseason. The Padres have indicated they were looking to cut payroll, which was going to be around $250 million in 2024, and Soto through arbitration was expected to land a massive contract that could be around $30 million annually.

The importance of shedding payroll was highlighted even more by the fact the team is expected to lose Blake Snell, Josh Hader, Nick Martinez, Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo to free agency, a lot of innings for a team that still has a stout lineup.

By making this trade with the Yankees, San Diego accomplishes several goals. It shed what was expected to be a massive salary off the payroll. It added plenty of pitching depth, including arms either MLB-ready (King, Brito, Vasquez) or near-MLB-ready (Thorpe), and picked up a catcher in Higashioka.

The Padres still have the core of a team that should compete in 2024. The lineup features Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts and Ha-seong Kim, with Luis Campusano showing promise behind the plate in 49 games with the big-league club. The rotation starts Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish.

Parting with Soto was a big loss, but it has its benefits in both the near- and long-term.

Juan Soto contract

When San Diego acquired Soto from the Nationals, it sent a massive haul of prospects to Washington. The Padres did not receive anywhere close to that return, and Soto’s contract is the biggest reason why.

Soto arrived in San Diego with two-and-a-half years left under team control. He heads to New York in his final year as an arbitration-eligible player, likely set to earn somewhere in the upper-$20 million range or low-$30 million range.

Soto’s agent is Scott Boras, who notoriously likes his players to reach free agency to test their value on the open market. Given Soto’s age (26 at the start of the 2025 season) and his track record, he has a chance to set the record for the largest deal in MLB history, perhaps even topping what is expected to be a record-setting deal to Shohei Ohtani, who will turn 30 in July.

Juan Soto stats

2018 Nationals 19 116 494 22 5-7 16% 20% .292/.406/.517
2019 Nationals 20 150 542 34 12-13 16.4% 20% .282/.401/.548
2020 Nationals 21 47 196 13 6-8 20.9% 14.3% .351/.490/.695
2021 Nationals 22 151 654 29 9-16 22.2% 14.2% .313/.465/.534
2022 Nationals/Padres 23 153 664 27 6-8 20.3% 14.5% .242/.401/.452
2023 Padres 24 162 708 35 12-17 19.3% 14.9% .275/.410/.519
Career 779 3,375 160 50-69 19% 17.1% .284/.421/.524

Source : ESPN.com

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