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Juan Soto promises to bring ‘good vibes,’ winning to Padres

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SAN DIEGO – John Soto arrived at Petco Park promising to deliver “good cheer” to the San Diego Padres and alerting the opposing teams.

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Acquiring the 23-year-old talent of a generation in what is arguably the biggest time-limited deal ever has inspired the Padres and their long-suffering fans, and that’s not all.

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Soto and Josh Bell joined the roster currently led by All-Star Slugger on Wednesday Manny Machado. Shortstop Star Fernando Tatis Jr. he is expected to return after breaking his left wrist within a few weeks.

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When this line-up hits the pitch: “It’s going to be really exciting. It’s going to be very hard to get through, and I wish the other pitchers good luck,” Soto said with a laugh at the opening press conference.

The Colorado Rockies needed it when they first saw the new Padres on Wednesday night.

Soto, acquired from Washington in a big deal along with first baseman Josh Bell, went four fields in his first at-bat. Machado doubled behind him, Bell also went, and then the lesser known Deadline pickup. Brandon Drury – acquired from Cincinnati at the height of the season – crushed the Grand Slam tournament.

The group posed together for a Polaroid photo in the dugout after rounding the bases, a signature event for the club known as Slam Diego.

The price for Soto and Bell was significant: left-handed rookie Mackenzie Gorefirst baseman/DH Luke Voight and avenues James Wood, CJ Abrams, Robert Hassel III and Yarleen Susana.

Washington Capitals general manager Mike Rizzo set a high asking price last month after reports surfaced that Soto had turned down the team’s latest offer of a $440 million 15-year contract.

Uncertainty about his future began to weigh on Soto, who said after Sunday’s game against St. Louis, “I just want to get it over with and see what happens. Start here or wherever I am.

That place is San Diego, where the Padres entered on Wednesday holding second place in the wildcard NL, 11 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.

Soto, one of the best young hitters in the game, said he was happy Bell was involved in the deal. The two were flown to San Diego on a private jet on Tuesday evening.

“As for me, I never realized that I was going to be exchanged together. I thought it was probably alone,” Soto said. “When I realized I was coming with Josh, we have a great relationship and I was more excited and more excited because he was coming and I know what kind of guy he is and what he brings to the table. I am more than happy to share another club with him.”

Soto contributed to the Nationals’ first World Series title in 2019 and then hit .351 in 2020 to win the NL title. This is his second consecutive All-Star Game, and now he and Bell have joined a team that has a very strong playoff chance.

Soto said all conversations with the Padres general manager AJ Preller and his new teammates said: “Let’s win, let’s bring good energy to the club and the stadium, just come here and try to win. Try to transfer here to San Diego my experience as a 2019 World Series champion.

“This is what I’m going to do, this is what’s been on my mind since I saw the deal yesterday. That’s what we’re going to do, try to go all the way to the last command.”

Soto thinks he’ll join a World Series contender.

“Yes, definitely,” he said. “This team has what it takes to win the World Series.”

San Diego last played in the World Series in 1998 when it was beaten by the New York Yankees.

Soto has a contract for two seasons after the end of this year, and he said that after that he does not think about anything.

“I just think about winning,” he said. “I just come to this club to bring the energy that I have, all the good vibes that I have to bring here to win.”

Soto and Bell move from the team with the worst track record in baseball to the team that blew their playoff chances.

“It’s really nice,” Soto said. “I feel really pumped up to be here. Just walking away from a team that has no chance to go all this way is a great feeling, a new atmosphere, a new start for me. It’s a new beginning, a new feeling to go out and give more than I have.”

Bell said: “Obviously we put our hearts and souls into this game, wherever we are. … But it’s a little more fuel to the fire to be here and on the hunt and have a reason to show up a little earlier each day to do the work we need to do. I’m definitely excited about the new opportunity here.”

Soto and Tatis, also 23, have known each other since playing together in the Dominican Prospect League.

“This is my boy, the boy from my hometown,” Tatis said on Tuesday. “I mean, we’ve been playing together since we were 15, 16 years old. And now we are on the same team. This is madness.”


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