Does the Juan Soto Trade Make the Padres 2022 World Series Favorites?

Padres World Series The Odds Soto

Major League Baseball’s trade deadline day is always among the most fascinating on the sport’s annual calendar. Every year, we see contenders attempting to load up in advance of the upcoming postseason. Others, meanwhile, will ship off MLB-level talent with an eye on the future.

Not every team knows whether to buy or sell once the deadline approaches, which adds to the intrigue. One thing the past few years have taught us, however, is that the San Diego Padres will always be among the most aggressive teams out there.

Over the past few years alone, we’ve seen San Diego GM AJ Preller nab Mike Clevinger, Yu Darvish, Austin Nola, Luke Voit, Trent Grisham, Jake Cronenworth, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, and Sean Manaea via trades. The Padres’ roster is almost entirely comprised of trade acquisitions and free-agent signings, with very little homegrown talent of which to speak.

Well, Preller was at it again leading up to Tuesday’s trade deadline. On Monday, San Diego swooped in and landed All-Star closer Josh Hader in a blockbuster deal from the Brewers. About 24 hours later, the Padres made the biggest deal of the day by taking Juan Soto and Josh Bell off the Nationals’ hands in exchange for a slew of high-end prospects.

The team’s intention of trying to win the World Series as soon as possible is extremely clear. The Padres haven’t won a single championship since their arrival in 1969, with just one National League pennant to show for their 52 years of existence.

Do the Padres’ latest moves put them in the driver’s seat to win it all for the first time in 2022? Or should you bet on another team’s 2022 World Series odds, instead?

Padres’ World Series Betting Odds Improve

  • Los Angeles Dodgers (+350)
  • New York Yankees (+350)
  • Houston Astros (+525)
  • New York Mets (+700)
  • San Diego Padres (+750)

While San Diego’s newest high-profile additions caused their 2022 World Series odds to improve to +750 at MLB betting sites, the Padres clearly still have plenty of competition. The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are still co-favorites at +350 apiece, as of August 2nd.

The Houston Astros (+525) aren’t far behind, while oddsmakers think the Mets (+700) stand a slightly better chance than the Padres at toppling the Dodgers in the race for the National League title.

The defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves (+1200) need not be written off yet, either. The Toronto Blue Jays are lurking at +1400 World Series odds, while the Brewers (+2800) saw their odds decline after Monday’s aforementioned Hader trade.

Reinforcements On the Way

The arrival of Soto and Bell will certainly add to the Padres’ intrigue as a 2022 MLB futures betting option. We’ve already seen their World Series odds improve considerably over the past few hours, and there’s a chance they get even better as more and more bets come in over the next few days.

Soto and Bell won’t be the only reinforcements, either. Fernando Tatis Jr. took live batting practice for the first time before Monday’s game. The young shortstop is due to return to the lineup at some point this month. It’s easy to forget considering he hasn’t played an inning for the Padres after breaking his wrist over the winter, but this is a guy that smashed an NL-leading 42 home runs a season ago.

In Soto and Tatis, the Padres are about to add the second-and third-place finishers in last season’s NL MVP voting to the lineup. That will be an absolutely massive shot in the arm to a lineup that has otherwise been fairly average in most regards so far this season.

Without either of them, San Diego ranks just 19th in wRC+ (99) and 20th in team wOBA (.305). Needless to say, adding arguably the two best young bats in the NL to the lineup along with Manny Machado should vault the Padres considerably in most offensive categories.

With a trio of bona fide MVP candidates featuring prominently in the heart of the lineup, nobody’s going to want to pitch to this team in a short playoff series. Mix in solid contributors like Jake Cronenworth, Jurickson Profar, and Bell, and this offense should be downright fearsome when it’s firing on all cylinders.

Will the Padres Make the Playoffs?

Obviously, it’s hard to win the World Series if you don’t make the playoffs first. Impossible, in fact. San Diego is a whopping 12 games behind Los Angeles in the NL West, which means the Padres’ only feasible path to the postseason will come via the Wild Card.

The Padres’ hopes of closing the huge deficit with the Dodgers in the NL West are faint, but a Wild Card should be an attainable goal for this team. San Diego enters Tuesday’s doubleheader against Colorado holding the second of three NL Wild Card spots, with a two-game edge over the Phillies.

Atlanta is five games ahead of San Diego in the loss column, but the field of Wild Card contenders is otherwise thin. St. Louis is the only other team firmly in the mix, while the Giants are on the ropes. San Francisco is currently 4.5 games behind the Phillies and debating whether to sell off a few veteran pieces at the deadline.

The fact that San Diego is still 12 games above .500 without Tatis having played a single game is a remarkable feat. Machado has carried the offense to this point, but the story of the season has been the quality of the pitching staff. The Pads’ team ERA of 3.74 is the eighth-best mark in the majors, and the addition of Hader should shore things up in the ninth inning.

While they won’t win their division, the Padres path to the NL playoffs looks like a pretty favorable one, as of now.

Don’t Overlook Bell

While the 23-year-old Soto is the obvious headliner, don’t overlook the Padres’ addition of Bell. The first baseman was expected to be one of the hottest commodities on the trade market entering August, yet San Diego was seemingly able to Jedi mind-trick the Nats into including him in this trade as an unceremonious throw-in.

With Luke Voit and Eric Hosmer on the way out, Bell will assume the role of everyday first baseman for Bob Melvin. Bell, a former All-Star, is quietly hitting .301/.384/.493 with 14 homers and 57 runs driven in so far this season for Washington.

Not only will he hold down what was previously a weak position for the Padres, but his ability to hit from either side of the plate will bring more balance to San Diego’s lineup. The Texas native actually ranks fifth among all first basemen in WAR (2.5) this season, trailing only Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Ty France, and Pete Alonso.

Can the Padres Win the World Series?

Literally every World Series in the history of baseball to this point has been won by teams not called the San Diego Padres. This franchise has been largely unspectacular since joining the National League several decades ago, but their latest moves indicate they’ll stop at nothing in search of that elusive championship.

Of course, the Padres’ +750 World Series odds are appealing. This is one of the most talented teams we’ve ever seen, and there’s no reason to believe they can’t put it all together and make a real run into October.

The problem, of course, is that the Padres aren’t the only talented team out there. You can argue the mighty Dodgers, for example, have just as much, if not more, talent than San Diego top-to-bottom. Ditto for the Yankees, Astros, and Mets, who have all been quite active themselves leading up to the deadline.

Even with the additions of Soto, Tatis, and Bell, the Padres still have to be considered underdogs to win the National League behind their Southern California rivals. The NL still runs through Los Angeles, a team with three World Series appearances since 2017.

It’s hard to know what to make of the Padres until we see the new faces hit the field, but there is certainly plenty of reason for optimism moving forward. There’s a decent chance San Diego’s current +750 World Series odds will look like a serious value by the time the playoffs roll around, which makes the Pads a worthy flier with two months left to play in the regular season.

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Taylor Smith / Author

Taylor is a sports writer based in Southern California. While he primarily specializes in basketball, baseball and football, he will also dabble in things like soccer and politics from time to time. He has lived in just about every corner of the United States at one point or another, and he has been covering sports and sports betting for the better part of a decade. Taylor currently lives in Long Beach with his fiancé and their two cats.

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