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MLB trade deadline recap: Blue Jays land Merrifield; Soto to Padres

Teams gear up for baseball’s annual playoff run
Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield turns a game ending double play forcing Chicago White Sox’s AJ Pollock out at second and getting Tim Anderson at first during the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Chicago. The Royals won 2-1. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Juan Soto is joining Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. in San Diego. Jorge López, Michael Fulmer and Tyler Mahle are going to Minnesota. Noah Syndergaard, David Robertson and Brandon Marsh are heading to Philadelphia, and Joey Gallo is looking for a fresh start with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Baseball’s trade deadline day was an action-packed affair — 27 trades in all — and no one had more fun than the Padres.

San Diego made the biggest splash, acquiring Soto in a massive deal with the Washington Nationals. The sweet-swinging Soto, still just 23 years old, joins Machado in the middle of the Padres’ order, and Tatis is on his way back after being sidelined by a broken left wrist.

“It’s pretty impressive to have those three types of guys on one team in the same lineup,” said Wil Myers, the Padres’ longest-tenured player. “Excited to see that trio, hopefully in the next week or two.”

The Toronto Blue Jays got second baseman Whit Merrifield in a trade with Kansas City — it’s unclear if Merrifield plans to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to play in Canada — and fortified their bullpen by adding Anthony Bass and Zach Pop in a deal with the Miami Marlins. The Brewers added reliever Trevor Rosenthal in a trade with San Francisco.

The Cardinals and Yankees swapped big leaguers, with Gold Glove-winning center fielder Harrison Bader going to New York in exchange for left-handed starter Jordan Montgomery. The Atlanta Braves geared up for their title defense by sending former closer Will Smith to the Houston Astros for right-hander Jake Odorizzi, and then acquiring reliever Raisel Iglesias in a deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

San Diego acquired Soto and first baseman Josh Bell from Washington for rookie left-hander MacKenzie Gore, first baseman/DH Luke Voit and prospects James Wood, C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III and Jarlin Susana.

After landing Soto, a generational talent who helped Washington win the 2019 World Series, San Diego also acquired infielder Brandon Drury from Cincinnati. The Padres sent minor league shortstop Victor Acosta to the Reds for the 29-year-old Drury, who has a career-high 20 homers this year.

“The atmosphere here is they want to win, and not just go to the playoffs but win a World Series,” said All-Star closer Josh Hader, who was obtained by San Diego on Monday in another big deal with Milwaukee.

Eric Hosmer was part of the Soto deal before he vetoed the move, and San Diego ended up trading the first baseman to Boston along with two minor leaguers and cash in exchange for minor league left-hander Jay Groome.

The Twins bolstered their pitching staff with three trades, acquiring López in a deal with the Baltimore Orioles and Mahle in a swap with rebuilding Cincinnati. Fulmer came over from Detroit for minor league right-hander Sawyer Gipson-Long.

The 29-year-old López is in the middle of a breakout season, with a sparkling 1.68 ERA and 19 of his 20 career saves. The 27-year-old Mahle is 5-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 19 starts. Fulmer has a 3.20 ERA and two saves in 41 appearances.

“Just completely life-changing. I’m just really thankful for the Orioles and what they’ve been doing, and I’m glad it’s coming to a new chapter with the Minnesota Twins,” López said on a conference call with reporters.

The Twins, who took a one-game lead in the AL Central into Tuesday night’s game against Detroit, have a 5.30 team ERA since the All-Star break.

Baltimore received minor league pitchers Cade Povich, Yennier Cano, Juan Nuñez and Juan Rojas from Minnesota for López. Cincinnati got the bigger haul of prospects — infielders Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Spencer Steer, and left-handed pitcher Steve Hajjar.

The Yankees and Cardinals are eyeing October and turned an old-school baseball trade. A speedy 28-year-old from Bronxville, New York, Bader has not played since June 26 because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. When he returns, he likely would play share center field with newly acquired Andrew Benintendi in a move that would put Aaron Judge back in right and see Aaron Hicks and Benintendi share time in left, with Giancarlo Stanton as the designated hitter.

Montgomery, who could make his Cardinals debut against the Yankees this weekend, is 22-20 with a 3.94 ERA in six big league seasons.

Looking for its first playoff appearance since 2011, Philadelphia added Robertson to its bullpen in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, and got Marsh and Syndergaard from the Los Angeles Angels.

Philadelphia sent minor league pitcher Ben Brown to the Cubs for the 37-year-old Robertson, one of the top relievers on the market ahead of the deadline. The Phillies got Marsh from the Angels in exchange for catching prospect Logan O’Hoppe, then separately acquired Syndergaard for outfielders Mickey Moniak and Jadiel Sanchez.

Robertson is 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA and 14 saves in 36 appearances this year. The right-hander finalized a $3.5 million, one-year contract with the Cubs on March 16.

Marsh is a lefty-hitting, righty-throwing 24-year-old with speed and power projection. He ranked among Los Angeles’ top prospects before debuting in the majors last season, but he has struggled in the big leagues.

Syndergaard, the former Mets star, is 5-8 with a 3.83 ERA in his first full season since 2019 due to Tommy John surgery.

Also on the move: Gallo was traded by the New York Yankees to the Dodgers for minor league right-hander Clayton Beeter, and Darin Ruf went from the New York Mets to the Giants for J.D. Davis and three pitching prospects.

Jay Cohen, The Associated Press

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