The San Diego Padres officially welcomed Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Friars family on Wednesday and while they may not know much more about their new city — other than its weather reputation — the duo was happy to be here and ready to win.
“It’s going to be really exciting… I wish good luck to the other pitchers,” Soto joked, hinting to the All-Star lineup, that now includes power-hitters Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and, of course, Soto himself — arguably considered one of the best hitters in the Major Leagues.
Those three guys have a history that Soto says will grow stronger now that they’re teammates. Soto, of course, is fast friends with star shortstop Tatis Jr. since they were teens growing up in the Dominican Republic.
“We had a great relationship, even before we were teammates,” Soto said. “It was amazing time, we always talk to each other, we always hoped the best to each other. It was a great relationship and now it’s going to increase and it’s going to be way better. I think it’s going to be like a family.”
The addition of Soto and Bell to San Diego’s lineup, which includes six-time All-Star Manny Machado and 23-year-old superstar Fernando Tatis Jr., has everyone in the Padres organization giddy, especially manager Bob Melvin.
“He started messing around pretty quickly with lineups,” Preller said. “His first thing was ‘Yeah, I like this. This works.'”
In 101 games this season, Soto has 21 home runs and 46 RBI while slashing .246/.408/.485.
Meanwhile, Bell has 14 home runs and 57 RBI, slashing .301/.384/.493 in 103 games this season.
The Padres acquired the two-time All-Star and Bell for two major league-ready players and a haul of prospects. Included in the deal were shortstop C.J. Abrams, starting pitcher MaKenzie Gore, and the Padres’ first- (OF Robert Hassell III), third- (OF James Wood), and 14th- (RHP Jarlin Susana) best prospects in their system.
The Padres currently sit in second place in the NL West with a 60-46 record, 11.5 games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (70-33).
San Diego remains in control of the second NL Wild Card spot. They trail the Atlanta Braves (63-42) by 3.5 games for the top spot, while the Philadelphia Phillies (56-48) are three games behind the Padres, holding the third Wild Card spot.