Trade grade: Did the San Diego Padres or New York Yankees win Juan Soto trade?

The San Diego Padres have officially traded Juan Soto to the New York Yankees. Here are our grades for the swap.
San Diego Padres v New York Yankees
San Diego Padres v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres faced the unfortunate reality of needing to trade Juan Soto this offseason. Their financial situation made it so that re-signing him after the 2024 season was not going to happen, and their best way of re-shuffling their pitching staff was by dealing him.

The trade, as expected, is a blockbuster. Soto and Trent Grisham head to the Yankees, while San Diego receives pitchers Michael King, Drew Thorpe, Randy Vasquez, and Jhonny Brito alongside catcher Kyle Higashioka. The Padres part with one of the best players in baseball as well as an elite defensive center fielder, but get a ton of pitching depth and a backup catcher, two things they desperately needed.

San Diego Padres trade Juan Soto to the New York Yankees

It's hard to determine a real winner in this kind of trade when one of the best pieces of the deal, Drew Thorpe, likely won't debut until sometime in the middle of this upcoming season at the earliest. Thorpe was the Yankees fifth-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline and number 99 overall. He posted a 2.52 ERA in 23 minor league starts overall, and made his final five starts in Double-A. He should open the 2024 season at that same level, and could be up sometime in the middle of the season if he pitches well.

The other main piece the Padres got in this deal was reliever turned starter, Michael King. The 28-year-old has spent most of his MLB career in the bullpen, but was converted back to a starter toward the end of this past season and posted a 2.23 ERA in nine starts. He might be unproven as a starter, but King certainly has the stuff to be a quality mid-rotation arm San Diego desperately needs. After seeing how well Seth Lugo did in a similar situation, Padres fans should be excited about this get.

Vasquez and Brito are controllable arms that don't have the same potential King and Thorpe have, but can eat innings and be decent enough at the back end of the rotation for years to come. They both spent some time in the majors this past season and saw varying levels of success.

Yes, the Yankees got the best player in the deal. Juan Soto is a superstar, and should help transform New York's offense as they try and bounce back from their own disappointing season. For that alone, they deserve an A grade. Getting Grisham in the deal helps both sides. It helps the Yankees defensively, and helps the Padres who were trying to shed money.

San Diego Padres: B+
New York Yankees: A

Giving Soto up stings, but San Diego received five usable players in return, four of which (not Higashioka) have at least two years of control. The offense should still be competitive even without Soto, and the pitching improved drastically in the present and future with the additions of Thorpe and King.

As expected, the Padres did not get near the value they gave up to acquire Soto. However, considering Soto's contract status and the entire league knowing he was likely going to get moved, San Diego did quite well in this return.