MLB Trade Review: Padres Acquire Juan Soto and Bell

The Washington Nationals have actually done it. In the trade of the year, they have sent superstar outfielder Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres. They will also receive 1B Josh Bell. LHP MacKenzie Gore, SS CJ Abrams, OF Robert Hassell III, OF James Wood, 1B Luke Voit, and RHP Jarlin Susana are headed to Washington. The trade will finally be completed after Padres 1B Eric Hosmer nixed the trade, before San Diego replaced him with Voit in the deal.

Soto is a top three hitter in baseball, and that is being conservative. He is only 23-years-old, younger than a good amount of prospects being traded around deadline season, and is in his fifth season with an OBP over .400. Only five qualified hitters are at that mark this year, and Soto is number three, at .408. His 91 walks lead the majors by 31, a product of a terrible Nationals lineup that gives Soto no protection whatsoever. For the third consecutive season, his BB% is higher than his K%. Soto is not a free agent until after 2024, so the Padres will have him for three playoff runs, unless they want to flip him down the line to replenish their farm system. He also has playoff experience and a World Series victory already under his belt.

Soto’s youth, contract situation, and standard deviations above the average player makes it impossible for the Padres to lose a trade for him. No matter what happens, they get an A+ grade. The Padres traded away Voit, who was a legitimate part of their lineup. While he has been a decent hitter this year, he doesn’t compare to Bell, let alone Soto. Voit has flaws in his game on defense and strikes out a ton.

All of this doesn’t even mention Bell, who easily could have received Wood and Susana in a trade alone. A switch hitting first baseman who has been extremely durable this season, Bell has incredible offensive numbers. He can be streaky, which is concerning, but he has a .846 OPS since joining the Nationals before 2021. He is an upgrade over first basemen Hosmer and Luke Voit. In fact, Bell and Soto have a very similar bWAR on the season. Adding Bell and Soto to a lineup that already has Manny Machado and will see Fernando Tatis Jr. return is ridiculous.

Soto, 23, has hit 21 home runs with a .246 average, a .408 OBP, and an OPS of .894 in 436 Plate Appearances for Washington this season. In his MLB career, Soto has hit 119 home runs with a .291 average, a .427 OBP, and a .966 OPS in 2439 Plate Appearances.

Bell, 29, has hit 14 home runs with a .301 average, .384 OBP, and a .877 OPS in 437 Plate Appearances for the Nationals this season. In his MLB career for the Nats and Pittsburgh Pirates, Bell has hit 127 home runs with a .266 average, a .353 OBP, and an OPS of .824 in 3196 Plate Appearances.

The Nationals were in a tough spot, which is all you can really say. But to package Soto AND Bell is crazy, especially when you don’t even end up getting enough for just Soto. They weren’t able to shed the salary of either Patrick Corbin or Stephen Strasburg, which is a bit of a missed opportunity. Gore and Abrams are rookies who were previously top-ten prospects in baseball. Hassell is ranked 21st and Wood 88th by MLB Pipeline currently. Susana is ranked as the 14th best prospect in the San Diego system. The Nationals did get back a franchise-altering haul, and multiple players who will immediately play for them. But if one of Gore, Abrams, or Hassell is a bust, they don’t win the trade. Soto is that valuable. It is unfair to the Nationals, since Soto probably wasn’t going to re-sign with them, but the trade is bad. It should also be noted that Gore is the same age as Soto.

Voit, 31, has 13 home runs with a .317 OBP, and a .733 OPS in 344 Plate Appearances for the Padres in 2022. In his MLB career for San Diego, the St. Louis Cardinals, and New York Yankees, Voit has hit 86 home runs with a .348 OBP, and an OPS of .838.

Abrams, 21, has two home runs with a .285 OBP, and a .605 OPS in 139 Plate Appearances for the Padres this season. In his minor league career, Abrams has 12 home runs with 38 stolen bases, a .388 OBP, and a .910 OPS in 499 Plate Appearances.

Gore, 23, has a 4.50 ERA with 72 strikeouts, a 4.12 FIP, and a 1.471 WHIP in 70 innings pitched for the Padres this season. In his minor league career, Gore has a 2.79 ERA with 311 strikeouts and a 1.091 WHIP in 238.1 innings pitched.

Hassell, 20, has hit 10 home runs with 20 stolen bases, a .379 OBP, and a .846 OPS in 346 Plate Appearances for High-A Fort Wayne in 2022. In his minor league career, Hassell has hit 21 home runs with 54 stolen bases, a .388 OBP, and an OPS of .856 in 862 Plate Appearances.

Wood, 19, has hit 10 home runs with 15 stolen bases, a .453 OBP, and a 1.054 OPS in 236 Plate Appearances for Single-A Lake Elsinore this season. In his minor league career, Wood has 13 home runs with 26 stolen bases, a .447 OBP, and a 1.003 OPS in 356 Plate Appearances.

Susana, 18, is in his first professional season in the Arizona Complex League. In 29.1 innings, he has 44 strikeouts with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.886 WHIP.

MLB Trade Review: Twins Pick Up Jorge Lopez

In dire need of bullpen help alongside star rookie Jhoan Duran, the Minnesota Twins have traded for all-star Orioles closer Jorge Lopez. Baltimore will receive reliever Yennier Cano, alongside prospects Cade Povich, Juan Nunez, and Juan Rojas. All five players in the deal are pitchers.

Up until the 2022 season, Lopez was an underperforming failed starter who could’ve been designated for assignment without any headlines. Now, he fetches the Orioles four players. For a team that has surprised everyone this season, Lopez had been their closer and the backbone of an elite bullpen. His sinker averages just under 98 miles per hour. He throws five pitches, all of which have a whiff rate over 20 percent, although his fastball has mostly been cut off. Along with a career-best 27.6 K%, Lopez is in the 95th percentile in hard hit percentage, and has a groundball rate over 60 percent.

The big concern for Lopez as he joins the Twins is a bad month of July. All three of his home runs allowed this year came in the past 30 days. He had a 4.76 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP in 12 outings. The Twins get a valuable arm as they try to break their record of 18 consecutive playoff losses. Only one of their top 30 prospects (via MLB Pipeline) is dealt in Povich, who was placed at 22nd.

Lopez, 29, has a 1.68 ERA with 54 strikeouts, 19 saves, a 2.99 FIP, and a 0.972 WHIP in 48.1 innings for the Orioles this season. In his career for the Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, and Kansas City Royals, Lopez has a 5.51 ERA with 351 strikeouts, a 4.89 FIP, and a 1.476 WHIP in 398.1 innings.

The only piece of the trade that will be an Oriole somewhat soon is Cano, an older Cuban who has struggled in 10 MLB outings this season. His numbers in AAA are much better, as he has good strikeout numbers but with unreliable control. Nunez and Rojas are both rookie league pitchers who are the definition of lottery ticket prospects. A third round pick in 2021, Povich has a 3.40 FIP in High-A this season.

Cano, 28, has a 9.22 ERA with 14 strikeouts, a 6.55 FIP, and a 2.049 WHIP in 13.2 MLB innings this season. In his minor league career, Cano has a 3.07 ERA with 126 strikeouts and a 1.311 WHIP in 108.1 innings pitched.

Povich, 22, has a 4.46 ERA with 107 strikeouts and a 1.233 WHIP in 78.2 innings pitched for High-A Cedar Rapids this season. He has a 4.06 ERA with 126 strikeouts in 88.2 innings in his professional career.

Nunez, 21, has a 4.85 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 29.2 innings this season. In his professional career, Nunez has a 3.20 ERA with 109 strikeouts and a 1.105 WHIP in 76 innings pitched.

Rojas, 18, has a 2.57 ERA with 87 strikeouts, 18 walks, and a WHIP of 0.943 in 70 innings pitched in his rookie league career.

MLB Trade Review: Braves Acquire Odorizzi, Grossman

On a day that included the Atlanta Braves extended star Austin Riley for ten years, they made three trades. Early on, they brought back utility man Ehire Adrianza in a minor trade. Tonight, they sent veteran reliever Will Smith to the Houston Astros for Jake Odorizzi, then traded prospect Kris Anglin to the Tigers for outfielder Robbie Grossman.

The Astros had a surplus of starters, with six valid options. Odorizzi was the worst of the bunch, but also the hardest to move because of his age and contract. The Astros were able to do so while also getting a reliever back. Smith has been a valuable closer at times, but he has had a terrible 2022 season. He’s walked a career-high 12.3 percent of batters, while allowing seven home runs. The Braves arguably make an addition via subtraction with Smith, while also getting a back-end starter. Odorizzi has a player option for next year, while Smith has an expensive club option.

Odorizzi, 32, has a 3.75 ERA with 46 strikeouts, a 3.62 FIP, and a 1.150 WHIP in 60 innings for the Astros this year. In his MLB career for the Astros, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, and Kansas City Royals, Odorizzi has a 3.94 ERA with 1132 strikeouts, a 4.12 FIP, and a 1.236 WHIP in 1207 innings pitched.

Smith, 33, has a 4.38 ERA with 41 strikeouts, a 5.23 FIP, and a 1.514 WHIP in 37 innings pitched for the Braves this year. In his career for the Braves, San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers, and Royals, Smith has a 3.61 ERA with 640 strikeouts, a 3.66 FIP, and a 1.241 WHIP in 531.2 innings pitched.

Grossman is reminiscent of last year’s trades for Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler. Both were veterans in the midst of a bad season who came to Atlanta and were key contributors in their World Series win. In his prime, Grossman has been a high on-base player who is an asset offensively. But on a Tigers team that is seemingly cursed on offense, Grossman has struggled. His walk rate is still 11.9 percent, which is a positive. The return is slim for a struggling veteran, as Anglin is a 2021 late-round pick with bad Single-A numbers.

Grossman, 32, has hit two homers with three stolen bases, a .313 OBP, and a .595 OPS in 320 Plate Appearances for the Tigers this season. In his MLB career for the Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, and Astros, Grossman has 75 home runs with 60 stolen bases, a .348 OBP, and a .726 OPS in 3739 Plate Appearances.

Anglin, 20, has a 4.64 ERA with 56 strikeouts and a 1.433 WHIP in 52.1 innings pitched between rookie league and Single-A Augusta this season.

MLB Trade Review: Cardinals Acquire Quintana, Stratton

After missing out on Frankie Montas, the St. Louis Cardinals have pivoted to an in-division foe, sending Johan Oviedo and Malcolm Nunez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for LHP Jose Quintana and RHP Chris Stratton.

Quintana was signed to a one-year deal this offseason by Pittsburgh and has had a renaissance season. The veteran southpaw has a BB/9 under of 2.7 and batters have an OPS against him under .700 for the first time since 2016. He may not be an ace, but Quintana can be a solid starter in the back of a contending rotation. St. Louis also brings in Stratton, a reliever with high spin rates who has been unlucky this season. He has a high ERA but a FIP more in line with his recent seasons. His 11.1 H/9 shouldn’t continue, especially with the strong Cardinals infield defense.

Quintana, 33, has a 3.50 ERA with 89 strikeouts, a 3.24 FIP, and a 1.272 WHIP in 103 innings pitched this season. In his career for the Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, and San Francisco Giants, Quintana has a 3.81 ERA with 1484 strikeouts, a 3.66 FIP, and a 1.284 WHIP in 1661 innings pitched.

Stratton, 31, has a 5.09 ERA with 37 strikeouts, a 3.61 FIP, and a 1.549 WHIP in 40.2 innings pitched this season. In his career for the Pirates, Giants, and Angels, Stratton has a 4.61 ERA, 400 strikeouts, a 4.20 FIP, and a 1.458 WHIP in 439.2 innings pitched.

Quintana was one of the top starters on the trade market, so the return is significant. Oviedo started games for St. Louis last year, but has mostly been a reliever in 2022. His numbers have been solid in the majors, but he has not been good when he was being stretched out in the minors. MLB Pipeline ranked Nunez as the 10th best prospect in the Cardinals’ system. He is very young and has shown some pop at AA, with a .463 slugging.

Oviedo, 24, has a 3.20 ERA with 26 strikeouts, a 1.303 WHIP, and a 4.07 FIP in 25.1 innings this year. In his MLB career, he has a 4.65 ERA with 93 strikeouts, a 5.01 FIP, and a 1.469 WHIP in 112.1 innings pitched.

Nunez, 21, has hit 17 home runs with a .823 OPS in 350 Plate Appearances at AA this season. In his MiLB career, he has hit 41 home runs with an OPS of .831 in 1147 Plate Appearances.

MLB Trade Review: Red Sox Make 3 Moves in Busy Day

Right before Boston’s game against the Houston Astros, Red Sox head Chaim Bloom got some critical work done before tomorrow’s trade deadline, making three separate moves. First, he dealt catcher Christian Vazquez to Houston for outfield prospects Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu. Reliever Jake Diekman was then traded to the White Sox for catcher Reese McGuire, and the day was closed out by acquiring Tommy Pham from the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named later.

The most important trade was dealing Vazquez, who was loved in the organization and has been with them since being drafted in 2008. Vazquez has hit well this year, with a 108 OPS+. The Astros are starving for any type of production from the catching position. Starter Martin Maldonado has a .581 OPS. The sad thing is that backups Jason Castro and Korey Lee have been even worse. Vazquez does leave a bit to be desired from the defensive side of the ball, which also factors in with the McGuire trade. He will soon be a free agent, and Boston gets two prospects who have crushed the ball at the upper levels of the minors.

Vazquez, 31, has hit eight home runs with a .282 average, a .327 OBP, and a .759 OPS in 318 Plate Appearances this year. In his MLB career, all in Boston, Vazquez has hit 54 home runs with a .262 average, a .311 OBP, and a .700 OPS in 2525 Plate Appearances.

Valdez, 23, has hit 21 home runs with five stolen bases, a .327 average, and a 1.016 OPS in 378 Plate Appearances between AA and AAA this season. In his minor league career, Valdez has hit 72 home runs with 38 stolen bases, a .259 average, and an OPS of .810 in 1857 Plate Appearances.

Abreu, 23, has hit 15 home runs with 23 stolen bases, a .399 OBP, and an OPS of .858 in 411 Plate Appearances for AA Corpus Christi this season. In his minor league career, Abreu has hit 33 home runs with 54 stolen bases, a .363 OBP, and a .782 OPS in 1255 Plate Appearances.

The immediate replacement for Vazquez will be McGuire, along with backup Kevin Plawecki. The Red Sox have prospects Connor Wong and Ronaldo Hernandez in the wing, so McGuire is a stopgap. He is solid defensively with no offense whatsoever. The Red Sox also shed Diekman, a veteran reliever who racks up strikeouts, but also does not know where the ball is going. If he gets hot, he would provide some support for Chicago.

McGuire, 27, has no home runs with a .546 OPS in 166 Plate Appearances this season. In his MLB career for the White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays, he has nine home runs with a .646 OPS in 566 Plate Appearances.

Diekman, 35, has a 4.23 ERA with 51 strikeouts, 30 walks, a 4.97 FIP, and a 1.487 WHIP in 38.1 innings for the Red Sox this season. In his MLB career for the Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, and Philadelphia Phillies, Diekman has a 3.77 ERA with 632 strikeouts, a 3.58 FIP, and a 1.380 WHIP in 494.1 innings pitched.

The last trade helps the Red Sox down the stretch, and gives them security for a potential J.D. Martinez trade. Pham has struggled on a lowly Reds team, but still has a 10.9 BB%. He has some power with a bit of speed as well. He’s also an intense fantasy football player, it seems.

Pham, 34, has hit 11 home runs with seven stolen bases, a .320 OBP, and a .694 OPS in 387 Plate Appearances this season. In his MLB career for the Reds, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays, and St. Louis Cardinals, Pham has hit 108 homers with 96 stolen bases, a .358 OBP, and a .796 OPS in 3185 Plate Appearances.