Yankees acquire star OF Juan Soto in 7-player trade with Padres

Slugger Juan Soto (pictured) will play alongside Aaron Judge and Alex Verdugo as part of a revamped New York Yankees outfield. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
1 of 6 | Slugger Juan Soto (pictured) will play alongside Aaron Judge and Alex Verdugo as part of a revamped New York Yankees outfield. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Star outfielder Juan Soto is headed to the New York Yankees as part of a seven-player trade with the San Diego Padres, the teams announced.

The Padres and Yankees agreed to the swap Wednesday night. The Yankees will send the Padres right-handed pitchers Michael King, Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez, pitching prospect Drew Thorpe and catcher Kyle Higashioka in the transaction.


The Padres will send the Yankees outfielder Trent Grisham, in addition to Soto.

"It's very difficult to make a deal where you are trading a player the caliber of Juan Soto," Padres general manager A.J. Preller told reporters at the MLB winter meetings in Nashville.

"But if we did that, we wanted to make shored we sured up a bunch of needs. We were able to get some depth with quality."


Soto, 25, joined the Padres in a 2022 trade from the Washington Nationals. The three-time All-Star, 2019 World Series winner and 2020 National League batting champion hit .275 with a career-high 35 home runs with 109 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 162 games last season.

He is a career .284 hitter, with 160 homers and 50 steals through 779 appearances over six seasons. Soto and the Padres agreed to a one-year, $23 million contract last off-season to avoid arbitration.

Grisham, 27, hit .198 with 13 home runs and 50 RBIs in 153 games last season for the Padres. The outfielder hit .216 with 61 homers, 215 RBIs and 46 steals over his first five seasons.

Michael King, 28, went 4-8 with a 2.75 ERA and six saves in 49 appearances last season for the Yankees. He owns a career 3.38 ERA over five seasons.

Brito, 25, went 9-7 with a 4.28 ERA in 25 appearances, including 13 starts, last season for the Yankees. He made his MLB debut on April 2. Brito went 28-23 with a 3.86 ERA over 93 minor league appearances.

Vasquez, 25, went 2-2 with a 2.87 ERA over 11 games last season for the Yankees. He made his MLB debut on May 26. Vasquez logged an 18-21 record with a 3.41 ERA over 85 minor league appearances. He now rates as the Padres' No. 15 prospect, according to MLB pipeline. He was rated as the Yankees' No. 13 prospect.


Thorpe, 23, was a second-round pick by the Yankees in the 2022 MLB Draft. The right-handed pitcher went 14-2 with a 2.52 ERA over 23 starts last season in the minor leagues. He was named the Yankees Minor League Pitching Prospect of the Year and the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year.

Thorpe was the No. 5 prospect in the Yankees organization. He is now rated as the Padres' No. 6 prospect.

Higashioka, 33, hit .236 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs over 92 games last season for the Yankees. The seven-year veteran owns a .210 career batting average over 314 appearances.

All of the players acquired by the Padres are eligible for arbitration.

The Soto trade continued a busy off-season for the Yankees, who acquired former Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo in another trade Tuesday night.

General manager Brian Cashman said at winter meetings that the Yankees were interested in acquiring left-handed hitters, a desire met with the trades for Soto and Verdugo.

Soto and Verdugo are expected to play right field and left field, respectively, flanking star center fielder Aaron Judge. The Yankees used Harrison Bader, Oswaldo Cabrera, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Jake Bauers, Billy McKinney and Giancarlo Stanton, among others, to fill in their outfield alongside Judge in 2023.


None of their left-handed outfielders hit above .250. Bauers, who hit 12 home runs, was the only left-handed outfielder to hit more than six long balls.

Soto's 162-game average is 33 home runs, 100 RBIs and a .284 batting average. Verdugo's is 14 homers, 63 RBIs and a .281 average.

"I think overall, it was a good matchup for both teams," Preller told reporters. "I know the Yankees and Brian [Cashman] had mentioned they were looking for an impact left-handed bat. Juan fit very well for them.

"From our standpoint, the ability to add four arms to the pitching staff, pitchers that we think have both ceiling and also will be able to pitch for us this year...and adding a the end of the day, the combination of those two things really added up for us."

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