‘Who won the trade?’ is a question people try to answer immediately after a trade happens and San Diego Padres starting pitcher Michael King did so this week when talking to the New York Post’s Dan Martin.
“I continue to praise A.J. Preller and be confident in saying I feel like the Padres won the [Soto] trade,’’ King said Monday. “I feel like the talent we’ve gotten, I was shocked to see the Yankees part with that many people [King, Jhony Brito, Randy Vasquez, Drew Thorpe and Kyle Higashioka]. Obviously, it’s Juan Soto, so you have to give up a big package, but I was pumped to see who was coming with me to San Diego. I know they’re gonna contribute this year and for years to come.”
While I like the confidence from King, the Padres haven’t won the trade. The Yankees haven’t either. We might know a year from now who has won it. Or maybe not.
If the New York Yankees win the World Series in 2024 with Juan Soto and Trent Grisham, then they will be able to say they won the trade...assuming the Padres don’t win multiple titles in the next five or six years with the pitchers they acquired in the deal (yes, that’s getting way too far ahead of ourselves).
But if New York doesn’t win it all and Soto walks in free agency, then doesn’t San Diego win the deal like the Washington Nationals won their Soto trade with A.J. Preller?
There’s another possibility. What if the Yankees don’t win in 2024 but 2024 helped convince Soto Yankee Stadium is the place he needs to be the rest of his career? He signs there long-term and then they win at least one title during that contract? Then it would depend on how many titles the Padres win while the pitchers they got back are in the brown and gold (again, that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s win one first).
We may have an idea of who won the trade on paper right now but the correct answer to the question is to be determined because we don’t know how the Padres and Yankees are going to do in 2024 and beyond.