Juan Soto Trade Grades: Yankees Get Their Guy
The Juan Soto blockbuster between the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres has finally exploded. It is a seven-player deal that sees Soto and Trent Grisham head to the Bronx in exchange for Michael King, Randy Vasquez, Drew Thorpe, Jhony Brito, and Kyle Higashioka. The first big splash of the Winter offseason actually could work out well for both sides. Check out the trade grades below!
New York Yankees: B
The Yanks did well but this is by no means highway robbery. If they can get an extension done between now and free agency next year, then maybe it becomes an A. For one of the best hitters on the planet, they paid a pretty fair price. King looked like he could be a strong piece in the starting rotation or bullpen. He looked excellent in the tail-end of 2023. The Yankees’ front office has not done a lot great, but their ability to build the farm with arms and develop them is honestly respectable these days.
They lost some serious depth, so it’s going to have to come back either in free agency or some more trades. It’s an area of need, especially when you consider they gave up a handful of arms to add Alex Verdugo. Another point that could bring their grade up is signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto; pairing him and Gerrit Cole at the top of the rotation looks very very nice.
However, there are other issues with the deal. My main concern is what the starting outfield will look like. Does playing Aaron Judge in centerfield after a significant toe injury last year make sense to everyone? Yes, he has filled in there much more since the start of his 2022 MVP season. But this team will only have a chance at greatness if he and Soto can stay healthy. The whole world saw what the Yanks looked like after he went down in June. Having Grisham as insurance in CF is certainly a plus, as well as the eventual return of Jasson Dominguez later in the Summer.
There’s a lot of moving pieces here, so if Cashman can round out the roster intelligently and Boone can manage it, then anything can happen.
San Diego Padres: B-
Preller was always going to have poor leverage but this deal is not terrible. He added a handful of arms to help both now and into the future while also getting a solid defensive catcher in Higgy. While they are still in a tough spot to win now, it’s not impossible. There’s still a bunch of good players on the Padres. If King, Brito and Vasquez can make a quick impact along with Yu Darvish, then I think San Diego could be a team to watch. Thorpe also has the chance to become an impact player down the road. He did very well in the minor league in 2023.
The fact that they were able to recoup some of the crazy value they paid in the Summer of 2022 is honestly the most important part. Soto gave the fans some great memories on their run to the NLCS last year. The unfortunate passing of owner Peter Seider is clearly one of the motivating factors behind all of this.
The New York Yankees and San Diego Padres have pulled off one of the biggest trades in recent memory. The second Juan Soto blockbuster has even more implications than the first. You can argue that both sides left more to be desired, but there’s certainly a pathway towards a win-win scenario in the future.