Juan Soto arrived at Petco Park on Wednesday promising to bring “good vibes” to the San Diego Padres and issuing a warning to opposing teams.
The acquisition of the 23-year-old generational talent in perhaps the biggest deadline deal ever energized the Padres and their long-suffering fans, and there is more to come.
Soto and Josh Bell joined a lineup anchored by All-Star slugger Manny Machado. Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr is expected to return from a broken left wrist within a few weeks.
When that lineup hits the field, “it’s going to be really exciting. It’s going to be really tough to go through and I wish good luck to the other pitchers,” Soto said with a laugh at an introductory news conference.
The Colorado Rockies needed it in their first look at the new Padres.
Soto, acquired from the Washington Nationals in a massive trade along with switch-hitting first baseman Josh Bell, walked on four pitches in his first at-bat.
Machado doubled behind him, Bell also walked and then lesser-known deadline pickup Brandon Drury — acquired from the Cincinnati Reds amid a breakout season — crushed a grand slam. The Padres went on to win 9-1.
The group posed together for a Polaroid photograph in the dugout after rounding the bases — the signature celebration for the club known as Slam Diego.
The price for Soto and Bell was significant: rookie left-hander MacKenzie Gore, first baseman/designated hitter Luke Voit and prospects James Wood, C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III and Jarlin Susana.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo set a lofty asking price last month after reports emerged that Soto rejected the team’s latest contract offer of US$440 million over 15 years.
The uncertainty over his future began weighing on Soto, who said after Sunday’s game against the St Louis Cardinals: “I just want to get it over with and see what’s going to happen. Start over here or wherever I’m at.”
In other games, it was:
‧ Yankees 3, Mariners 7
‧ Rays 3, Blue Jays 2
‧ Braves 1, Phillies 3
‧ Guardians 7, D’backs 4
‧ Twins 4, Tigers 1
‧ Rangers 3, Orioles 6
‧ White Sox 4, Royals 1
‧ Angels 1, Athletics 3
‧ Astros 6, Red Sox 1
‧ Nationals 5, Mets 9
‧ Marlins 3, Reds 0
‧ Pirates 8, Brewers 7
‧ Giants 0, Dodgers 3
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