Juan Soto-Padres report makes his dominance with Yankees feel even worse

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox / Jaiden Tripi/GettyImages

When the San Diego Padres traded for Juan Soto, he was supposed to be the final piece of the World Series puzzle. The Padres had been among the most active teams in all of baseball in signing and trading for the best players, and the addition of Soto was thought by many to be the move that was going to finally get San Diego where they wanted to go.

Unfortunately, that is not what ended up happening. Instead of being among the best teams in MLB in 2023, San Diego fell flat last year and didn't even make the playoffs at all. In the aftermath of that disappointment as well as the death of Padres owner Peter Seidler, San Diego decided to cut their losses and sent Soto to the Yankees in a trade last offseason.

Now, with reports emerging that Juan Soto was "never comfortable" in San Diego, some Padres fans are placing blame on Soto for the team's struggles last year. While Soto is definitely playing better with the Yankees than he did in San Diego, the criticisms toward him are misguided ... even though it's tough to watch him lighting the world on fire in New York.

Juan Soto is definitely playing better now than he did, but he was never the Padres' problem

It is never fun to see a guy like Soto, who the Padres invested a lot to acquire, go on and play out of his mind elsewhere. Through 71 games (and a bit of an injury scare), Soto is slashing .315/.433/.592 with 18 homers with the Yankees and is among the top MVP candidates in the American League this year. Those numbers are better than his in San Diego and it's hard not to think about where this year's Padres would be with him in the lineup, but it isn't like Soto phoned it in during his time with San Diego.

After struggling following his trade from the Nationals in 2022, Soto was great last year. In 708 plate appearances while not missing a single game, Soto posted a .930 OPS with 35 homers and finished in the top six in MVP voting. Even if the unnamed Padres veteran was right that Soto wasn't overly comfortable playing in San Diego, he didn't let it show on the field and was one of the few bright spots last year.

Much of what we are seeing out of Padres fans is just sour grapes, unfortunately. He didn't beg his way out of San Diego and he absolutely did his job while he was here. The Padres' offseason roster purge was due to a lot of things that had little to do with Soto's performance and much more to do with other guys stinking it up plus the new ownership needing/wanting to rein in spending.

Sadly, the end result is fans having to watch a great player go on and dominate elsewhere. Sometimes that's just the way it is.

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