Juan Soto trade continues to haunt the Padres, but not the one you think

Both trades involving the Padres and Juan Soto have proven to be quite painful.
New York Yankees v San Diego Padres
New York Yankees v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

It certainly isn't fun for the San Diego Padres to see what Juan Soto is doing with the Yankees right now. After the Padres traded Soto to New York for a sizable return given his one year of team control, he has quickly established himself as among the favorites to win AL MVP this year thanks to his 1.024 OPS, although teammate Aaron Judge may have something to say about that.

However, that outcome was kind of expected. Soto wasn't traded because he wasn't performing well enough — in fact far from it. That move was strictly a payroll/financial one on the Padres' side in the wake of the death of their owner. Everyone thought that he was going to be good and everyone was right. He is still, in fact, one of the best hitters in baseball.

Instead, the Soto trade that should be haunting Padres fans right now is the one that brought him to the Padres in the first place.

Trading for Juan Soto is not aging well at all for the Padres

One could obviously understand the allure of acquiring Soto from the Nationals when the Padres pulled the move off. He had two-plus years of team control and was (and still is) one of the most exciting players in baseball. However, the Padres had to give up what was a haul of prospects at the time to get him and, looking back, it is a move that may have set the team back in a big way.

CJ Abrams was one of the headliners of the trade, and while it took him a little while to find his way, he looks to be a budding star with his five tools. MacKenzie Gore is another former top Padres pick that went to Washington for Soto and he has improved significantly since his time in San Diego. He has continued to rack up the strikeouts while bringing his walk rate down.

However, no player in that deal might make Padres fans more queasy about losing than top prospect James Wood. Wood had only been in the Padres' organization for about a year after getting drafted out of high school when he was traded, but unfortunately it looks like the Nationals were able to cash in on that lottery ticket as Wood is one of the top prospects in all of baseball with an all-around skill set that gives him the potential to be a superstar ... and soon.

Unfortunately, you have to give up talent to get talent and the Padres accomplished both in the move to land Soto. Unfortunately, they only ended up getting 1.5 seasons of Soto with most of that being a waste given the dumpster fire that was the 2023 season (Soto was great, the rest were not), and they gave up at least three players who would be a huge help right now and beyond.

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