Entering the 2022 MLB trade deadline, many questions remained to be answered as a flurry of teams focused on improving for a playoff run.
The hype around this years deadline began to ramp up when 23 year old all-star Juan Soto turned down a 14 year, 440M dollar contract to stay in Washington. After he declined the extension, the Nationals quickly moved to field calls for the young star.
On Tuesday, while some speculated a Soto trade would demand simply too much, the “childish bambino” found his new home. The Nationals and Padres agreed to a blockbuster deal, as San Diego will now pair Soto with their current stars, Fernando Tatis Jr and Manny Machado. The Padres also received switch hitting first baseman Josh Bell in the trade, who was highly coveted throughout the deadline.
Though this trade will be a tough swallow for Nats fans, the return is significant. LHP Mackenzie Gore, OF Robert Hassell III, SS CJ Abrams, OF James Wood and RHP Jarlin Susana will lead Washington into the future. Nonetheless, it is a peculiar spot for a franchise that won the World Series in 2019 and looked to have all the upside in the world.
Even after acquiring a generational talent in Soto, the Padres were still in the market for other big names to bolster their team. On Friday, they acquired LHP Josh Hader from the Brewers, who despite having an up and down season, is known as one of the best closers in all of baseball. They also acquired third baseman Brandon Drury from the Reds, who will help their depth tremendously.
Another team hard at work for the home stretch: the Philadelphia Phillies. Sitting at 55-47 and third in the NL east, the Phillies decided to set their sights on the Wild Card and go all in. On Tuesday, the Phillies acquired RHP Noah Syndergaard from the Angels, adding arguably the best starter left on the market to a team that desperately needs pitching.
Philadelphia also added OF Brandon Marsh from the Angels and reliever David Robertson from the Cubs. Though these aren’t the flashiest moves, the new depth could propel the Phillies to a playoff berth. Plus, Philly is paying Bryce Harper 330M and has yet to make the playoffs with him.
The Yankees had a quietly productive deadline as well. Focused on acquiring starting pitching, the Yankees wasted no time trading for RHP Frankie Montas. To fill his spot in the rotation, New York shipped starter Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals and received OF Harrison Bader in return.
New York also moved on from former Ranger Joey Gallo, shipping him to the champion-minded LA Dodgers for a prospect. After an all-star and gold glove final season with Texas, Gallo was never able to find his footing with the Yankees, leading to mass frustration from the fanbase.
The AL central leading Minnesota Twins improved their roster as well, acquiring all-star reliever Jorge Lopez from the Orioles and starter Trevor Mahle from the Reds. Led by the MLB’s leader in average Luis Arráez to go along with sluggers Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton, the Twins could pose as a serious threat come playoff time.
The obvious winner of the deadline goes to the San Diego Padres, who pulled off a historic trade by acquiring the modern day Ted Williams in Juan Soto. Their other moves should prove to be impressive as well, especially if it results in a deep playoff run.
While the Padres will be the talk of the town for the rest of the season, teams like the Phillies, Yankees, Twins and Blue Jays were able to find players that filled their specific needs.
Though championships are not won at the trade deadline, we may look back at this deadline after the season and realize how much it changed the complexion of the MLB landscape. One thing is for certain: it gears all baseball fans for an exciting second half of the year.