The tension is building as Major League Baseball’s trade deadline arrives today at 6 p.m. ET. There have already been several big names on the move — and there’s no doubt that more will be coming.
The biggest name on the market has found a new home as the San Diego Padres have landed superstar outfielder Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals. Soto and first baseman Josh Bell head to San Diego for a package of first baseman Eric Hosmer, left-hander MacKenzie Gore and four prospects.
Follow along with today’s action and get the latest news and rumors counting down to the deadline:
MONDAY’S DEADLINE BLOG: Recapping Josh Hader, Frankie Montas deals and more
The San Diego Padres are making a huge statement in their bid to reach the World Series by landing the trade deadline’s biggest prize, agreeing to acquire All-Star outfielder Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals for first baseman Eric Hosmer, left-hander MacKenzie Gore and a package of four prospects, shortstop C.J. Abrams, outfielders Robert Hassell III and James Wood, and right-hander Jarlin Susana.
The Padres will not only have Soto for this year’s playoff push, but for the next two seasons as well. He is eligible for salary arbitration in 2023 and 2024 before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. That’s one of the reasons the Nationals were able to extract such a high price for Soto’s services, even though he’ll command what could be a record salary in arbitration.
Earlier this season, the Soto turned down a record-breaking 15-year, $440 million contract offer to stay with the Nationals. Even though the deal would have been the largest in baseball history, it would only average $29.33 million per year — making him the 20th highest-paid player in annual value.
Desperate for bullpen help, the Minnesota Twins have acquired 2022 AL All-Star Jorge Lopez from the Baltimore Orioles.
The O’s will receive left-hander Cade Povich, right-handed reliever Yennier Cano and additional low-level prospects in exchange for the 29-year-old Lopez.
In by far the best season of his seven-year career, Lopez has made the transition from struggling starter (3-14, 6.07 ERA in 2021) to lights-out closer — converting 19 of 23 save chances and pitching to an ERA of 1.68 in 44 appearances.
The Twins have gone through several closers after trading 2021 All-Star Taylor Rogers to the Padres this spring. Emilio Pagan leads the team with nine saves, but has blown six other save chances and has an ERA of 4.75. Five other Twins relievers have picked up at least one save.
MLB teams aren’t the only ones looking to improve their rosters at the trade deadline. In the upcoming issue of USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Steve Gardner offers his winners and losers from a fantasy standpoint. Here are a few of each:
SP Luis Castillo, Mariners. Somehow, Castillo managed to put up a 2.86 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with Cincinnati – in one of the most homer-happy ballparks in the majors. In Seattle, he’ll have a much more neutral home park and a better defense behind him. The schedule helps as well with the M’s having 25 games left against sub-.500 division opponents the Angels, Rangers and A’s — and none against the first-place Astros.
RP Devin Williams, Brewers. MLB saves leader Josh Hader’s fantasy value wasn’t going to change whether or not he changed teams. Once he did though, going from the Brewers to the Padres, Williams’ immediately becomes a top-10 fantasy closer in Milwaukee. Possibly top five. (The Orioles’ Felix Bautista gets a similar boost in value with Jorge Lopez traded to Minnesota.)
1B Trey Mancini, Astros. Mancini was one of the hitters most impacted by the Orioles moving the left field wall back 30 feet this season. After hitting 14 homers at Camden Yards a year ago, Mancini had just five there this season (one of them of the inside-the-park variety). Hitting fly balls at a career-high rate, the Crawford Boxes in Houston, by comparison, should seem like just a short pop fly away for Mancini.
SP Frankie Montas, Yankees. With the Mariners landing Castillo first, the Yankees made a strong and successful push for the No. 2 starting pitcher on the market. Montas’ 4-9 record belies his excellent 3.18 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. However, he has taken full advantage of the spacious Oakland Coliseum this season. Over 12 starts in Oakland, Montas has a 2.06 ERA; in seven starts on the road, his ERA is over 5.00.
OF David Peralta, Rays. Primarily a platoon hitter, Peralta shouldn’t see much of a change in his role playing primarily against right-handers. However, the AL East is the toughest division in the majors and the Rays like to tweak their lineups more than most teams. The Rays also acquired outfielder Jose Siri on Monday and should have Manuel Margot and Harold Ramirez coming back off the injured list soon.
Fantasy managers in AL- and NL-only leagues. This could change with a flurry of activity on deadline day. But as the final 24 hours of trading began ticking down, the number of inter-division deals was disappointingly small. Perhaps the possibility of a Juan Soto trade has kept a number of other deals on hold. No matter the reason, hoarding one’s FAAB dollars until the last minute in hopes of grabbing a superstar from the opposite league seems to be yet again a dangerous gamble.
The San Diego Padres are now seen by multiple observers as the “most motivated” team to put together a package for Juan Soto, in the words of The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
They have several high-level prospects — including shortstop C.J. Abrams and outfielder Robert Hassell III — which would be essential to creating a package the Nationals would accept.
Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post goes even further, calling the Padres the “most likely landing spot” for Soto. In addition, he says the Padres could also acquire first baseman Josh Bell as part of a Soto deal.
What makes the Padres different from the other rumored suitors for Soto is that they might have a bit more trouble getting him to sign a long-term extension before he becomes a free agent at the end of the 2024 season. That’s because they already have two huge contracts already on the books in Fernando Tatis (14 years, $340 million) and Manny Machado (10 years, $340 million). However, Machado’s contract does allow him to opt out after the 2024 season.
According to USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale, the Padres wouldn’t necessarily have to deplete their farm system for years to come if they acquired Soto. They could always trade him for more top prospects before he becomes a free agent.
The New York Yankees have been sitting atop the baseball world all season, but were much more worried about their team than they ever publicly revealed.
So, what did they do?
They grabbed Oakland A’s ace Frankie Montas on Monday when they couldn’t get Cincinnati Reds ace Luis Castillo. They passed on Brewers All-Star closer Josh Hader, who went to San Diego, but turned around and acquired Oakland closer Lou Trivino in the Montas trade. They acquired Cubs rookie reliever Scott Effross, too. They’re out on the Juan Soto sweepstakes, but acquired Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals last week.
The Milwaukee Brewers let teams know early in July that four-time All-Star closer Josh Hader was available, believing they could still win the NL Central without him, but warned the asking price would be steep.
Well, they soon will find out if they’re correct in their assessment, trading Hader to the San Diego Padres on Monday for closer Trevor Rogers, starter Dinelson Lamet, pitching prospect Robert Gasser and outfield prospect Esteury Ruiz.
“Trading good players on good teams is difficult, and that certainly is the case with Josh,” Brewers president David Stearns said. “We also recognize that to give our organization the best chance for sustained competitiveness, to avoid the extended down periods that so many organizations experience, we must make decisions that are not easy.”
There was a time, not too long ago, when the Detroit Tigers envisioned a much different approach at the 2022 trade deadline — 6 p.m. Tuesday, less than two hours before they play the Twins in Minnesota.
On paper, the Tigers were lined up to compete. But on the field, due to myriad injuries and poor performances, the Tigers have the third-worst record in the AL, and the offense — averaging 3.21 runs per game — is one of the worst in baseball history.
“I’m just trying to make sure our guys realize we put ourselves in this situation,” Hinch said. “We have to deal with the consequences of the stress, anxiousness, curiosity and the reality that, if I was on the outside and I had a contending club, I would have a few pieces that I would want here, too.”