The New York Yankees put the baseball world on notice on Tuesday night, finalizing a deal to acquire superstar OF Juan Soto from the San Diego Padres in exchange for RHP Michael King, RHP Drew Thorpe (NYY #5 prospect), RHP Jhony Brito, RHP Randy Vasquez, and C Kyle Higashioka. The Yankees also received OF Trent Grisham in the trade.

The Soto trade comes a little over a day after New York completed a trade with their long-hated rival Boston Red Sox for OF Alex Verdugo. New York’s outfield looks to be Verdugo, Aaron Judge, and Soto from left to right, with Grisham as the fourth outfielder and Giancarlo Stanton as the designated hitter.

Soto, 25, spent the last year and a half with San Diego. This past season he hit .275, with a .410 OBP, .519 SLG, .920 OPS, 158 OPS+, 35 homers, and 109 RBI, playing in all 162 games. He finished sixth in NL MVP voting, is a three-time All-Star, and a four-time Silver Slugger award winner. He is widely regarded as one of the best hitters in baseball.

Grisham, 27, finished his fourth season with San Diego in 2023. This past season he hit .198, with a .315 OBP, .352 SLG, .666 OPS, 87 OPS+, 13 homers, and 50 RBI. Grisham is mainly known for his defense, as he has two Gold Glove awards in five seasons in the majors.

Meanwhile, the Padres accomplished their goal of lowering payroll by trading Soto and now can look to find ways to compete at the price they desire.

King, 28, finished his fifth year with the Yankees in 2023. He mainly came out of the bullpen but emerged as a formidable starter for New York in the last few months of the season. Last season, King went 4-8 with a 2.75 ERA, 158 ERA+, 3.13 FIP, 1.146 WHIP, and 10.9 K/9 in 104.2 innings pitched.

Before being traded to San Diego, Thorpe ranked as the Yankees’ fifth-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline, including being their second-best pitching prospect. Thorpe was named the Minor League Pitching Prospect of the Year in 2023 as he heavily emerged onto the scene amongst the top up-and-coming arms. Between High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset, Thorpe went 14-2 with a 2.52 ERA with a 0.983 WHIP, 11.8 K/9, and one complete game in 139.1 total innings pitched.

Brito, 25, made his major league debut in New York in 2023. He went up and down between Triple-A Scranton and the majors, pitching in 25 games with the big league club. Brito went 9-7, with a 4.28 ERA, 101 ERA+, 4.74 FIP, 1.218 WHIP, and 7.2 K/9 in 90.1 innings pitched.

Vasquez, 25, also made his major league debut with New York in 2023. Similarly to Brito, Vasquez spent time between Triple-A Scranton and the majors, pitching in 11 games at the major league level.  Vasquez went 2-2 with a 2.87 ERA, 1.274 WHIP, and 7.9 K/9 in just 37.2 innings pitched.

Higashioka, 33, spent 15 years in the Yankees organization after initially being drafted by the club out of UC Berkeley in 2008. Higashioka had numerous roles on the team throughout the years, once being a third-string catcher, and eventually working his way up to be a starter for the 2020-21 Yankees. In 2023, Higashioka hit .236, with a .274 OBP, .413 SLG, .687 OPS, 85 OPS+, 10 homers and 34 RBI in 92 games.

The Yankees will continue to pursue upgrades to their roster for the remainder of the offseason, while the Padres will look to continue balancing a payroll decrease and competing with the tough NL West.

(Featured image via Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos)

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