How's the Juan Soto trade working out for the Padres with Yankees coming to town?

Yup. Juan Soto is returning to Petco Park this weekend.
Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees
Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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After pulling off a hard fought series win over the Reds this week, the San Diego Padres face a very significant test as the Yankees are coming to town for a three-game set this weekend. Not only is New York one of the best teams in baseball at the moment, but this also marks the return of Juan Soto to Petco Park, albeit in an enemy uniform this time.

The trade that saw Soto go from San Diego to New York sent reverberations throughout the entire league last offseason. For the Padres, it was a sign that they were scaling back their payroll and, in turn, their efforts to try and push for a World Series title (although not by as much as some originally thought). For the Yankees, it was a classic all-in move to finally get over the hump by adding one of the best bats in baseball.

We are almost a third of the way through the 2024 season, so now seems as good a time as any to see how the Soto trade looks so far for both parties.

The Yankees got everything they could have asked for and more out of Juan Soto with one exception

To the surprise of no one, Soto has remained an absolute monster now that he is wearing pinstripes. After giving the Padres a .930 OPS and a career-high 35 homers in 2023, Soto has been arguably even better with the Yankees so far this season with a .312/.409/.563 line with 13 home runs. If you are looking for the biggest reason why the Yankees are 35-17 going into Friday's game, just draw a big circle around Soto's name.

The only thing that could make the Yankees feel even better about their investment would be if they could keep Soto long-term. While there are some signs that Soto would like to stick around, the fact remains that a deal hasn't gotten done yet and it is extraordinarily likely that Soto will test the free agent market.

The Yankees also took on Trent Grisham's contract in that same trade, but he has stunk out loud, so that is a significant net win for the Padres overall.

The Padres could be better off in the long-run after the Soto trade

You won't get any Soto slander here as the guy is one of the best players in MLB and gave the Padres his best effort while he was here. However, the fact remains that Soto is about to be a free agent, and with San Diego's future payroll obligations already a concern without his money on the books, getting an historic $500+ million contract done with him would've been problematic on so many levels.

So far, the Padres' return for Soto has had middling results. Michael King has looked great at times ... but has also looked like he has no idea where his pitches are going. Drew Thorpe looked like he could factor into the Padres' plans in 2024, but he was included in the trade that got the Padres Dylan Cease, which does matter here. Unfortunately, Randy Vasquez, Kyle Higashioka, and Jhony Brito have been little more than roster filler in 2024.

Ultimately, it is still too early to declare a winner of the trade or determine if there is only going to be one winner here. If the Yankees finally get back to the World Series for the first time since 2009 thanks to Soto, they will be thrilled to have made the move. If King and Cease continue to contribute to the Padres and the Yankees flame out in the playoffs again (as they are known to do) only to watch the cross-town Mets sign Soto to a mega-deal next offseason, this trade looks a lot different.

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