Yankees acquire OF Juan Soto from Padres

Field Level Media

December 07, 2023 at 5:16 am.

The New York Yankees added a left-handed slugger to bat alongside right-hander slugger Aaron Judge, acquiring outfielder Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres in a seven-player trade Wednesday night.

The Padres received right-handers Jhony Brito, Randy Vasquez, Michael King and Drew Thorpe plus catcher Kyle Higashioka in exchange for Soto and outfielder Trent Grisham.

Soto, 25, is headed to his third team in three seasons — a surprising development for one of the game’s young superstars.

After finishing as runner-up for National League Rookie of the Year at 19 for the Nationals in 2018, Soto helped Washington win the World Series the following year.

In 2020, he led the NL in batting average (.351), on-base percentage (.490) and slugging percentage (.695), and he has led the league in walks three times.

The three-time All-Star belted a career-high 35 homers this year, when he drove in 109 runs and produced a .275/.410/.519 batting line.

Soto was dealt from the Nationals to the Padres on Aug. 2, 2022. He will be arbitration-eligible in 2024, the final season before he could enter free agency.

The Yankees added another left-handed-hitting outfielder on Tuesday when they acquired Alex Verdugo from the rival Boston Red Sox.

King, 28, finished 4-8 with six saves and a 2.75 ERA in 49 appearances (nine starts) for the Yankees in 2023. In five major league seasons, all with New York, he has a 13-17 record with seven saves and a 3.38 ERA in 115 games (19 starts).

Brito, 25, broke into the majors with New York this year, going 9-7 with a 4.28 ERA in 25 games (13 starts).

Vasquez, 25, also was a rookie in 2023, going 2-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 11 games (five starts).

Thorpe, 23, was the Yankees’ second-round draft pick in 2022 out of Cal Poly. In his first pro season this year, he went 14-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 23 starts between high Class-A and Double-A.

Higashioka, 33, was the Yankees’ primary catcher each of the past two seasons. In 2023, he batted .236/.274/.413 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs. In seven major league seasons with New York, he has a .210/.253/.394 batting line with 40 homers and 121 RBIs over 314 games.

Grisham, 27, batted .184 in 152 games in 2021 and .198 in 153 games in 2022, though he earned his second career Gold Glove as a center fielder in 2021. He has a career batting line of .216/.316/.383 with 61 homers and 215 RBIs in 547 games over five seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers (2019) and San Diego (2020-23).