OK. Props to the San Diego Padres. They pulled off the biggest blockbuster for the sport’s best young player. Juan Soto is headed across the country, per reports, after the Washington Nationals agreed to a deal with the Pads. But where were the Los Angeles Dodgers?
LA fans had fun laughing at the Padres being the “frontrunners” for a hot moment as they reminded SD fans of the botched Max Scherzer deal last year, but now it’s the Dodgers being sent back to the drawing board with plenty of work to do before 6 p.m. ET.
Nobody was doubting that the Padres had the necessary ammo to land Soto — they possess a unique combination of top prospects and major league talent they can realistically part with and not have the roster/short-term outlook be drastically compromised.
But how couldn’t the Dodgers beat this package if they were truly motivated to acquire Soto? LA’s farm system is stronger than San Diego’s! It doesn’t even seem like they were involved seriously enough to drive the price up on their division rivals.
Per MLB Pipeline, the Padres surrendered their No. 1, No. 3 and No. 14 prospects in addition to promising rookies, pitcher MacKenzie Gore and shortstop CJ Abrams — both of whom came from a surplus on their roster. Before the season started, Abrams was the Pads’ No. 1 and Gore was the team’s No. 4.
Why didn’t the Dodgers outbid the Padres’ weak offer for Juan Soto?
We thought this was going to be the trade that ended all trades! And the Nationals are taking on Eric Hosmer’s contract? And Gore has a serious elbow injury? What planet are we on?
Hold the phone, though. Hosmer has a 10-team no-trade list and the Nationals are on it, so stayed tuned …
UPDATE, as of 10 a.m. PST:
Trade still goes through with or without Hosmer’s approval.
Nonetheless, what a turnaround from last year’s trade deadline, huh? After whiffing on Scherzer, the Padres ended up with Daniel Hudson, Adam Frazier and Jake Marisnick — all of whom are off the current roster.
Though the Dodgers have other, more important needs than Soto, it feels like they could’ve bested this package? One could argue a combo of Gavin Lux, No. 2 prospect Bobby Miller, No. 3 prospect Michael Busch, No. 4 prospect Andy Pages and No. 6 prospect Ryan Pepiot could’ve easily rivaled the Pads’ offer. Or perhaps Dustin May and/or No. 5 prospect Miguel Vargas being thrown in for two others could’ve been better. Not to mention, guys like No. 7 Landon Knack, No. 12 Maddux Bruns and No. 17 James Outman (off to a hot MLB start!) are viewed more favorably than their rankings.
All we’re saying is that this is worth pondering, considering reports suggested the Dodgers were “serious” on the Soto front, with the latest updates revealing they were among the finalists with the Padres and Cardinals.
Maybe the Dodgers’ involvement was smoke to scare the Padres? LA has more immediate rotation and bullpen needs, so perhaps that’s where Friedman is focused. Additionally, the exciting debut of Outman, as well as Trayce Thompson’s showing since coming over via trade, maybe altered the front office’s thinking.
Either way, it won’t matter when the Dodgers finish better than the Padres in 2022, right?