SAN DIEGO (AP) — Juan Soto arrived at Petco Park promising to bring “good vibes” to the San Diego Padres and issuing a warning to opposing teams.
The acquisition of the 23-year-old generational talent in perhaps the biggest deadline deal ever energized 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 All-Star slugger Manny Machado. Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to return from a broken left wrist within a few weeks.
When that lineup hits the field, “It’s going to be really exciting. It’s going to be really tough to go through and I wish good luck to the other pitchers,” Soto said with a laugh at an introductory news conference.
The Colorado Rockies needed it in their first look at the new Padres on Wednesday night.
Soto, acquired from Washington in a massive trade along with switch-hitting first baseman Josh Bell, walked on four pitches in his first at-bat. Machado doubled behind him, Bell also walked and then lesser-known deadline pickup Brandon Drury — acquired from Cincinnati amid a breakout season — crushed a grand slam.
The group posed together for a Polaroid photo in the dugout after rounding the bases — the signature celebration for the club known as Slam Diego.
The price for Soto and Bell was significant: rookie left-hander MacKenzie Gore, first baseman/DH Luke Voit and prospects James Wood, C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III and Jarlin Susana.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo set a lofty asking price last month after reports emerged that Soto rejected the team’s latest contract offer of $440 million over 15 years.
The uncertainty over his future began weighing on Soto, who said after Sunday’s game against St. Louis: “I just want to get it over with and…