Former Padres top prospect could make team regret Juan Soto trade with Nationals

CJ Abrams is crushing the ball this season.
Washington Nationals infielder CJ Abrams
Washington Nationals infielder CJ Abrams / G Fiume/GettyImages
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Don't look now, Padres fans (seriously, don't look), but CJ Abrams is putting up some big numbers in our nation's capital. Abrams was arguably the biggest trade acquisition the Washington Nationals received in return for the 2022 deadline deal that sent Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres, and he is raking this season.

Abrams was one of many top prospects the Padres shipped to DC in order to bring Soto to San Diego. Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, Robert Hassell III, James Wood, Jarlin Susana, and Luke Voit were all involved in the deal that allowed the Padres to secure both Soto and Josh Bell from the Nats.

A little less than two years later, and this is shaping up to be an awful trade on the part of the Padres. Not only is Soto no longer in San Diego, but Abrams is turning into that player that the Friar faithful thought they were going to see on the field at Petco Park some day.

Former Padres top prospect, CJ Abrams, could make team regret Juan Soto trade with Nationals

Abrams is the starting shortstop for the Nats this season and is hitting .344/.400/.688. While the power numbers lagged behind during his first full season in the big leagues last year, the 2024 version of Abrams has plenty of pop. The former first-round pick has three home runs already this season to go along with a 200 OPS+.

And it's not just Abrams. Wood is crushing the ball for the Nationals Triple-A affiliate. In seven games for the Rochester Red Wings, Wood is hitting .360/.500/.650 with five doubles. Wood was a Grapefruit League standout this spring with a 1.213 OPS and four home runs. He also showed a great deal of awareness for the strike zone with 11 walks.

The Nats, of course, entered a full-on rebuild during the summer of 2022 after trading Soto and Bell to the Friars. It was the Padres' hope that adding the All-Star outfielder with two years of team control remaining would help San Diego makes a run at the World Series. Unfortunately, the 2022 NLCS was as far as the Padres got.

Former Padres prospects CJ Abrams and James Wood look like cornerstone pieces for the Nationals

Soto put up MVP-caliber numbers in 2023, but rather than keep the slugger in San Diego, AJ Preller and the Padres front office worked out a deal with the New York Yankees. It became apparent that the Padres and Soto weren't going to be able to workout a long-term extension, and the Friars decided to part ways.

With Ha-Seong Kim set to enter free agency after the 2024 season, it sure would have been nice to still have Abrams in the building. The Padres definitely don't have a serviceable shortstop prospect similar to Abrams in the farm system at the moment.

Jackson Merrill has plenty of experience at the position, but the Padres seem satisfied with his transition to the outfield. Abrams' early-season performance and the Padres lack of a successor for Kim could become problematic. The Padres may be able to save some face with the additions they made this winter, but the Nats look like the clear winners from the trade deadline deal in 2022 now that Soto is no longer in SD.

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