Soto arrives in San Diego with playoff hopes high


Soto joins imposing Padres lineup


Juan Soto

Perhaps more than any other team, the San Diego Padres went all in at the trade deadline in their quest for a Wild Card playoff berth

Of course, of their flurry of moves, the biggest was the addition of Juan Soto, the superstar right fielder landed for a haul of prospects from the Washington Nationals. His acquisition left the baseball world gobsmacked and the Padres’ faithful delirious with visions of October baseball dancing in their heads.

The 23-year-old two-time All-Star is a generational talent and the classic five tool player — he can hit for average and power, field, throw and run. In his four-plus seasons in the majors (as of mid-August), the native of the Dominican Republic owns a .292 career batting average with 120 home runs, 359 RBIs, a .428 on-base percentage and a .967 OPs — eye-popping stats indeed.

Also in his short time in the bigs, he has assembled a trophy case to match his numbers, boasting a batting title, two Silver Slugger Awards, a Home Run Derby title and a World Series championship to go with his two All-Star appearances.

His addition to a lineup that also includes Manny Machado, new arrivals Juan Bell and Brandon Drury and presumably All-Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (who is due back from the injured list) could make the Padres a force to be reckoned with down the stretch. Whether that will be enough to vault them past the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves in the race to the NL Wild Card will be fun to watch.

Soto and the Padres can be seen in action Sunday, Sept. 4, when they conclude a three-game road series against their NL West rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers in a contest airing on ESPN.

Juan Jose Soto Pacheco

Birth date: Oct. 25, 1998

Birthplace: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Height/weight: 6 feet, 2 inches/224 pounds

Teams: Washington Nationals (2018-22), San Diego Padres (2022-present)

Position: Right field

Bats/throws: Left/left

No.: 22

Honors and achievements: All-Star (2021, 2022); World Series champion (2019); Silver Slugger Award (2020, 2021); All-MLB First Team (2020, 2021); NL batting champion (2020); Home Run Derby champion (2022)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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