Now it is done. Now the story ends -- at least the rumor part of it. A new story begins. Juan Soto is heading to the Padres in one of the biggest blockbuster deals in trade deadline history. There have been future Hall of Famers traded at the deadline: Tom Seaver and Rickey Henderson and Randy Johnson. There have been mega-stars traded at their peak: Mark McGwire and Manny Ramirez and Justin Verlander and, just last year, Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.
But there has never been a young player of Soto's magnitude traded at the deadline: one of the best hitters in the game, 23 years old, with two years of team control remaining. Soto's career OPS+ is 159. The only hitters with a higher OPS+ through their age-23 seasons: Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Mike Trout, Stan Musial and Albert Pujols.
It's the biggest swing of A.J. Preller's mercurial tenure as Padres general manager -- and he's had more big swings in his eight seasons running the Padres than any other GM. Still, the Padres are looking for their first playoff appearance in a full season under him (they reached the NLDS in 2020); that now looks like a lock, especially with the imminent return of Fernando Tatis Jr., who took live swings on Monday and should begin a minor league rehab assignment later this week.
Let's go to the grades ...