(Photo courtesy of Billy Sabatini | CC BY-SA 2.0)

Juan Soto joins the Yankees

Three-time All-Star slugger Juan Soto is going to New York after being traded from the San Diego Padres.

The Yankees acquired Soto and center fielder Trent Grisham on Wednesday night, in exchange for pitchers Michael King, Jhony Brito, Randy Vásquez and Drew Thorpe, and catcher Kyle Higashioka.

“It’s very difficult to make a deal where we’re trading a player the caliber of Juan Soto,” Padres general manager A.J. Preller said at a Nashville news conference. “But if we did that we wanted to make sure we shored up a bunch of needs. We were able to get some depth, with quality.”

San Diego originally acquired Soto from the Washington Nationals in 2022, as he turned down a 15-year contract with the Nationals. He signed a one-year $23 million contract with the Padres for 2023 – now, San Diego appears to be budget-slashing, cutting payroll by up to $50 million in the wake of a rough 2023 season.

“I think we’re going to run very competitive payrolls over the next five years, and I think we’re going to have a very competitive payroll this year,” Preller told ESPN. But it’s just what’s the best way to use that dollars, that player, and ultimately we decided to go add five players that I think are going to potentially play on our roster this year versus one.”

New York, for its part, has had one of its most disappointing seasons in decades, placing 29th among the 30 major league teams in batting average. In addition to their trade with the Padres, the Yankees exchanged three pitchers to the Boston Red Sox for Alex Verdugo.

“Soto and Judge are Gotham’s new dynamic duo,” agent Scott Boras told AP.

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