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Yankees acquire Soto from Padres in 7-player blockbuster

Alika Jenner / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Juan Soto is changing his pinstripes.

The New York Yankees acquired the superstar outfielder from the San Diego Padres in a seven-player blockbuster trade on Wednesday, the team announced.

San Diego sent Soto and center fielder Trent Grisham to New York in exchange for starter Michael King, pitchers Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez, No. 2 pitching prospect Drew Thorpe, and veteran catcher Kyle Higashioka.

Soto arrives in the Bronx after putting together a sparkling resume in the National League with the Padres and Washington Nationals.

The three-time All-Star and 2020 batting champion owns a .284/.421/.524 slash line with 160 home runs, 483 RBIs, and 640 walks in 779 career games. He hit .275/.410/.519 with 35 home runs, 32 doubles, and 12 stolen bases over 162 games last season.

Soto, 25, is a potential rental for the Yankees. He's eligible to become a free agent at season's end and is projected to earn $33 million through arbitration. Soto turned down a reported 15-year, $440-million extension from the Nationals in 2022 before he was traded to the Padres.

Trading Soto was a cost-cutting move for the Padres, who had increased payroll to franchise-record levels over the last two seasons.

"The exercise always is (that) you have a budget, and you're trying to make the team work within the budget," Padres president of baseball operations A.J. Preller said, according to Annie Heilbrunn of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "It gives us two things: Some flexibility, and then also some clarity on what the rest of the offseason looks like."

The Toronto Blue Jays were reportedly also interested in trading for Soto.

Also joining the Yankees is Grisham, a talented glove-first center fielder who projects to fill a critical defensive need for his new team. The 27-year-old has won two Gold Gloves in five big-league seasons.

Grisham, who hit .198/.315/.352 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs in 2023, has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining and is projected to earn $4.9 million next year, per MLB Trade Rumors. He could serve as an occasional center fielder for the Yankees as well as a late-game defensive replacement if Aaron Judge is starting in center.

King, 28, can slot into the back of the Padres' rotation immediately as a replacement for free agents Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo. Though he's worked primarily as a reliever with the Yankees, King impressed after moving to the rotation late last season, posting a 2.23 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 51 strikeouts in nine starts.

Over parts of five seasons with New York, King posted a 3.38 ERA and 1.19 WHIP along with 282 strikeouts and 83 walks. He'll be eligible for free agency after the 2025 season.

Brito, 25, worked as a swingman for the Yankees during his rookie season last year, posting a 4.28 ERA, 4.74 FIP, and 1.22 WHIP in 90.1 innings. He gives the Padres some additional pitching depth and has two minor-league options remaining.

Thorpe, ranked as the Yankees' second-best pitching prospect and No. 5 overall by before the trade, impressed in his first professional campaign this past summer. The 23-year-old posted a 2.52 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with 182 strikeouts and one shutout across 23 starts split between High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset.

Vásquez, 25, posted a 2.87 ERA and 1.27 WHIP with 33 strikeouts and 18 walks in 11 appearances (five starts) for the Yankees last season, his first in the majors. The Dominican Republic native worked primarily as a starter while at Triple-A.

Higashioka, 33, has primarily served as a backup catcher but played in a career-high 92 games for New York last season. He owns a lifetime .647 OPS with 40 homers and 121 RBIs over parts of seven big-league campaigns.

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