While some of Friar Faithful may disagree, a lot of San Diego Padres fans share Michael King's sentiments on the offseason trade with the New York Yankees. King believes the Padres won the Juan Soto trade.
In a phone conversation (via the New York Post), King said, “I continue to praise A.J. Preller and be confident in saying I feel like the Padres won the trade." The Padres, of course, dealt Soto to the Bronx earlier this offseason in exchange for King, catcher Kyle Higashioka, and several young pitchers.
While King believes Soto is one of the best players in the game today, he may be on to something here. Though reviewing a trade before any games are even played is a bit bold, the Yankees are only guaranteed one year with Soto in pinstripes before he become a free agent next winter.
New Padres pitcher says San Diego won Juan Soto trade with Yankees
The complete trade saw the Padres part ways with Soto and fellow outfielder Trent Grisham in exchange for King, Higashioka, Jhony Brito, Randy Vasquez, and Drew Thorpe. Soto avoided arbitration with the Yankees this offseason and signed a one-year, $31.5 million deal. Grisham is under team control through the 2025 season.
The Padres, however, have at least two more years of King and both Brito and Vasquez are pre-arbitration eligible. Thorpe has yet to make his major league debut, but is viewed by MLB Pipeline to be one the Top 100 prospects in baseball. Don't tell this to Yankees fans, though. They're convinced they gave up the best possible package for Soto even if he doesn't remain in the Bronx beyond 2024.
Most objective onlookers viewed this deal as a win-win. Seeing as how the Padres were unlikely to ever ink Soto a long-term contract, it made sense to trade him prior to Opening Day. The Yankees, sensing the urgency to win a World Series while Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge are both in their primes, decided to swing a deal for one of the best players in the game.
Though some Padres fans were upset to see Soto go, the long-term future of the franchise looks brighter with the package AJ Preller was able to bring back to San Diego. Michael King's boastful comments won't look terribly outlandish if he's able to duplicate his performance from last season.
King logged a 3.08 ERA in 40 relief appearances last season, but after moving from the bullpen into the starting rotation, his numbers looked even better. In nine starts, King was 1-4 with a 2.23 ERA and 51 strikeouts in just over 40 innings pitched. If all the Yankees get is one year of Soto, they better win the World Series next year or King will be proven right.