Yankees land all-star outfielder Juan Soto in blockbuster trade with the Padres

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Thursday, December 7, 2023
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- The New York Yankees have finally made the big splash fans have been waiting for this offseason.

All-Star outfielder Juan Soto has been traded to the Bronx Bombers in a blockbuster deal with the San Diego Padres.

The Yankees went into the offseason in search of two everyday left-handed-hitting outfielders and acquired both this week. On Tuesday night, they completed a rare trade with the rival Boston Red Sox to acquire Alex Verdugo in exchange for three pitchers.

Less than 24 hours later, they swung the deal that had been highly speculated on for several weeks, putting Soto in an outfield mix with Verdugo, Grisham, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the latter of whom is more of a designated hitter at this point.

Verdugo, 27, and Soto, 25, are both heading into their final year before free agency, but the Yankees would undoubtedly love to keep Soto long term. Neither Judge nor Verdugo are primary center fielders, but one of them will have to man the position on a full-time basis under this construction.

Since debuting as a 19-year-old in 2018, Soto, with his combination of patience and power, has slashed .284/.421/.524 with 160 home runs and 483 RBIs in 779 games, making three All-Star teams and capturing four Silver Sluggers. In that six-year stretch, Soto has drawn 640 walks and struck out 577 times, a rare ratio at a time when pitchers routinely throw into the triple digits with devastating breaking pitches.

Soto won a batting title during the COVID-19-shortened season in 2020 and led the majors in walks each of the next three years, accumulating 412 free passes -- while striking out 94 fewer times -- but also amassing 91 home runs. His adjusted OPS of 157 is the fifth-highest all-time through a player's age-24 season, trailing only Ty Cobb, Mike Trout, Mickey Mantle and Jimmie Foxx, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

With Soto added to the lineup, the Yankees offense will now boast two of baseball's most fearsome power hitters in Judge and Soto.

ESPN contributed to this report.

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