To say All-Star outfielder Juan Soto is happy to be joining the San Diego Padres might be an understatement.
The Padres formerly introduced Soto and first baseman Josh Bell on Wednesday, just over 24 hours after acquiring the duo from the Washington Nationals in a blockbuster deal ahead of the MLB trade deadline.
To no one’s surprise, Soto is looking forward to what the Padres lineup can do at full strength.
“It’s going to be really exciting. It’s going to be really tough to go through,” Soto said. “I wish good luck to the other pitchers.”
The addition of Soto and Bell to San Diego’s lineup, which includes six-time All-Star Manny Machado and 23-year-old superstar Fernando Tatis Jr., has everyone in the Padres organization giddy, especially manager Bob Melvin.
“He started messing around pretty quickly with lineups,” Preller said. “His first thing was ‘Yeah, I like this. This works.'”
In 101 games this season, Soto has 21 home runs and 46 RBI while slashing .246/.408/.485.
Meanwhile, Bell has 14 home runs and 57 RBI, slashing .301/.384/.493 in 103 games this season.
The Padres acquired the two-time All-Star and Bell for two major league-ready players and a haul of prospects. Included in the deal were shortstop C.J. Abrams, starting pitcher MaKenzie Gore, and the Padres’ first- (OF Robert Hassell III), third- (OF James Wood), and 14th- (RHP Jarlin Susana) best prospects in their system.
The Padres currently sit in second place in the NL West with a 60-46 record, 11.5 games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (70-33).
San Diego remains in control of the second NL Wild Card spot. They trail the Atlanta Braves (63-42) by 3.5 games for the top spot, while the Philadelphia Phillies (56-48) are three games behind the Padres, holding the third Wild Card spot.