SAN DIEGO — Sean Soto they arrived at Petco Park promising to bring “good vibes” to the San Diego Padres and issuing a warning to other teams.
The 23-year-old prodigy’s acquisition in the trade deadline may have been the biggest acquisition of all time for the Padres and their long-suffering fans, and there’s more to come.
Soto and Josh Bell on Wednesday joined a lineup currently anchored by an All-Star slugger Manny Machado. Clip star Fernando Tatis Jr. He is expected to return from a broken left wrist within a few weeks.
When that lineup hits the field, “It’s going to be very exciting. It’s going to be very difficult to get through and I wish the best of luck to other pitchers,” Soto said with a laugh at an introductory news conference.
A few hours later, Soto and the rest of the new-look Padres were quickly living up to the slugger’s words.
Brandon Druryacquired in a deadline deal with the Reds on Tuesday, hit a grand slam in his first at bat, Soto went 1-for-3 with two walks, and Bell had two walks and two runs scored as San Diego slammed Colorado 9 -1.
Soto received a standing ovation from the Petco fans when he ran out to right field in the top of the first inning.
He walked on four pitches in his first at-bat in the bottom of the frame. Machado singled behind him, Bell also walked and then Drury became the fifth player in the expansion era (since 1961) to hit a grand slam in his first plate appearance with a team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
It all added up to a successful first night for the Padres, who hold the NL’s second wild-card spot and trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by 11½ games in the NL West after Wednesday’s win.
Soto, one of the best young hitters in the game, said before the game that he was happy that Bell was included in the trade. The two were flown to San Diego on a private jet on Tuesday night.
“As for myself, I never realized that I was going to trade together. I was probably thinking on my own,” said Soto. “When I realized I was coming with Josh, we have a great relationship and I was more excited and more motivated because he’s coming and I know what kind of guy he is and what he brings to the board. shared another clubhouse with him.”
Soto contributed to the Nationals’ first World Series title in 2019 and then hit .351 in 2020 to win the NL batting title. He’s in his second consecutive All-Star season, and now he and Bell have joined a team whose playoff chances were doomed big time.
Soto said all the conversations with Padres general manager AJ Preeller and his new teammates were, ”Let’s win, let’s bring the good energy to the clubhouse and the stadium, just come here and try to win. Try to bring my experience from 2019 as a World Series champ here in San Diego.
“That’s what I’m going to do, that’s what’s been on my mind since I saw the trade yesterday. That’s what we’re going to try, try to make it all the way to the last team standing .”
Soto thinks he’s joining a World Series contender.
“Yeah, sure,” he said. “This team has everything it takes to win a World Series.”
San Diego last played in the World Series in 1998, when it was swept by the New York Yankees.
Soto is under contract for two more seasons beyond this year and said he is not thinking about anything beyond that.
“I’m just thinking about winning,” he said. “I’m just coming to this clubhouse to bring the energy I have, all the good manners I have to bring here, to win.”
Soto and Bell are coming from the team with the worst record in the ball to one whose postseason chances are vaulted.
“It feels very nice,” said Soto. “It feels really pumped to be here. Just going from a team that has no chance to come all the way here, it’s a great feeling, a new vibe, it’s a new start for me. It’s a new start, a new feeling go out there and give more than I have.”
Bell said: “Obviously we’re pouring our heart and soul into this game no matter where we are. … a little bit earlier every day to get the work done that we need to do. . I’m definitely happy to have a new opportunity here.”
Soto and Tatis, also 23 years old, have known each other since they played together in the Dominican Prospect League.
“That’s my boy, my hometown boy,” Tatis said Tuesday. “I mean, we’ve played together since we were 15, 16. And now we’re on the same team. It’s crazy.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.