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Soto makes Padres contenders for the title

The San Diego Padres went all-in before the MLB trade deadline, possibly pledging their future in exchange for outfielder Juan Soto. The win-now move has changed perceptions of the Padres, making them one of the top contenders for the 2022 World Series title.

After Tuesday’s close, San Diego is one of just five teams with a better than 10/1 chance of winning the 2022 World Series at BetMGM. The Padres’ +900 odds for this year’s championship put the team comfortably ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves, who lead the next tier of contenders at +1200.

The Los Angeles Dodgers (+350) and the New York Mets (+600) are the only National League teams with better World Series odds than the Padres. The New York Yankees (+350) and the Houston Astros (+450) are the clear favorites in the American League.

While the Dodgers and Mets are in first place and well on their way to the playoffs, the Padres still have work to do to make the postseason. San Diego is 11.5 games behind Los Angeles in the NL East and has little hope of winning the division. The Padres are second in the NL wildcard standings with a 3.5 game lead over the first team from the playoff picture.

The Padres had +2500 World Series odds on the All-Star break. Amid rumors that the team could trade for Soto, San Diego’s odds increased to +1800. Hours before acquiring Soto, the Padres had +1300 World Series odds.

Soto isn’t the Padres’ only signing this week. In exchange for several promising young players and highly acclaimed prospects, the Washington Nationals sent Soto and first baseman Josh Bell to San Diego. Bell will replace Eric Hosmer, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox.

The newest Padres have completed 35 home runs this season. Soto leads MLB with 91 walks and has improved his OPS to .894 after posting a .313 batting average in July. Bell bats .301 for the season and is sixth in the NL with 113 batting.

The Padres are hoping Soto and Bell can bolster their previously mediocre lineup. San Diego ranks ninth in the NL for runs scored. Washington is the only NL team to have hit fewer home runs than San Diego.

Manny Machado was the team’s best positional player, scoring .288/.364/.501. Fernando Tatis Jr could soon be back after a wrist injury that kept him off the field all season.

The Padres have the fourth-best ERA in the NL and have taken steps to improve their bullpen. On Monday, San Diego traded for the best helper of the past half decade — former Milwaukee Brewers seamstress Josh Hader.

Hader and his 2.47 career ERA bolstered the Padres’ bullpen. A rough July saw Hader’s 2022 ERA soar to 4.11. The four-time All-Star still has 60 strikeouts and a league-high 29 saves in 35.0 innings.

San Diego was swept by Los Angeles in the 2020 NLDS and made the playoffs as part of MLB’s temporary 14-man postseason field. It was the Padres’ only playoff appearance in the last 16 years.


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Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / RONALD MARTINEZ

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Fry Electronics Team

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