Friday, August 19, 2022

How much better does Juan Soto make the Padres? Plus, remembering Vin Scully

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Hope you’re well.

Let’s get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

JUAN SOTO, JOSH BELL AND THE SAN DIEGO PADRES

The Padres have won the race for arguably the best young player to be traded since Babe Ruth. And that’s no exaggeration. Juan Soto is headed to San Diego in one of the biggest trades in recent memory.

It took a huge haul, but Soto is more than worth it. At just 23, he has the second-highest career OBP through a player’s age-23 season in the Modern Era behind only Ted Williams. Even this season, where his batting average is down and he’s had little help in the Nats lineup, Soto’s .408 OBP is third in the bigs. The Padres earned an “A” for the move, writes R.J. Anderson.

  • Anderson: “Adding Soto to an already good roster for up to three playoff runs is the kind of opportunity that doesn’t come around often. It’s the kind of high-leverage maneuver where any cost is justified, even if it means mostly emptying out what remains of your farm system. … That the Padres got more than just Soto here is hard to fathom — and that the ‘more’ is another good, in-demand player … well, jeez.”

The Nationals‘ grade wasn’t as pretty, which, frankly, is to be expected when you have a Hall-of-Fame track star leaving, even if the return is impressive. It’s been a great last few days for the Padres, which I talked about a bit yesterday. According to SportsLine’s calculations, the Padres’ playoff chances jumped from 68% to 79%. They only have a five percent chance to win it all, but when you add a young star who already has a dominant World Series performance on his resume, perhaps those numbers aren’t doing San Diego justice.

So, what will the Padres’ lineup look like going forward? Dayn Axisa put together something like this:

Good luck, opposing pitchers.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for…

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USATSI

THE MIAMI DOLPHINS

Remember when former Dolphins coach Brian Flores sued the Dolphins (and other teams) and had fiery allegations against team owner Stephen Ross back in February? To review, Flores alleged racial discrimination by the Dolphins, Giants and Broncos. Flores also said Ross offered him $100,000 per loss in 2019 and that Ross engaged in tampering by meeting with Tom Brady and communicating with Don Yee — Sean Payton‘s agent — in ways that violated NFL rules

Man, it’s been a long offseason. But the punishment for Ross has finally arrived, and it is a significant one. 

  • The NFL docked Miami a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick as punishment for the tampering. “Violating the integrity of the game” was the exact wording.
  • Ross received a $1.5-million fine and is suspended through Oct. 17. He cannot be at the team facility, and he also cannot attend league meetings until the 2023 owners meeting.
  • Bruce Beal, the Dolphins’ vice chairman, has been barred from attending any league meetings for the remainder of the 2022 season and fined $500,000.
  • Brady was not punished (and here’s why).

Importantly, the NFL did not find that Ross seriously encouraged tanking. That doesn’t mean it didn’t take place, though, notes NFL expert Cody Benjamin.

It seems as if Ross escaped a significantly worse punishment. He even put out a celebratory/defiant statement, even though he just cost his team two very valuable draft picks. The 2023 draft class should be loaded at quarterback, and the Dolphins were sitting pretty with two first-round picks to potentially trade up and address that position if Tua Tagovailoa struggles. Now, they only have the 49ers‘ first-rounder.

If I were a Dolphins fan, I’d be really upset with Ross, who cost his team dearly and, in response, essentially celebrated the ruling. But I’m a Nationals fan, so I’m too busy being really upset about the Soto trade.

Not so honorable mentions

Rest in peace, Vin Scully ⚾

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USATSI

Vin Scully, the legendary Dodgers broadcaster, died last night at 94 years old, the team announced. Scully broadcasted 67 seasons with the Dodgers, starting in 1950 — when the team was in Brooklyn (they moved in 1958) — to 2016. It’s the longest stint with one team for a broadcaster.

  • Scully also worked national MLB broadcasts as well as NFL games and the PGA Tour. He worked for CBS Sports from 1975-82 and NBC Sports from 1983-89. 
  • Among Scully’s many awards are the Ford C. Frick Award — given out by the Baseball Hall of Fame — in 1982 and the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award in 2014. He was named the Top Sportscaster of All-Time by the American SportsCasters Association in 2009.
  • He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

Here’s everything else that happened on MLB trade deadline day ⚾

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The Soto trade was only the (admittedly gigantic) tip of the iceberg for a huge MLB Trade Deadline day. Here’s a few more. (And when I say a few, I mean a lot.)

Of course not everyone got traded. There were several players — including a pair of Cubs — who were mentioned often over the last few weeks but ended up staying put.

Still, with all of that movement, some clear winners and losers emerged, and the Yankees — who added OF Andrew Benintendi, SP Frankie Montas, OF Harrison Bader, RP Scott Effross and RP Lou Trivino — were on the right side of things, writes MLB expert Mike Axisa.

Unveiling the Preseason CBS Sports 131 🏈

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Graphic by Mike Meredith

Why rank a top 25 when you could rank all 131 FBS teams? That’s exactly what our team of college football experts has done with the season just over three weeks away. There’s a familiar face at No. 1. Here’s the top 10:

  • 1. Alabama
  • 2. Ohio State
  • 3. Georgia
  • 4. Utah
  • 5. Clemson
  • 6. Notre Dame
  • 7. Oklahoma
  • 8. Michigan
  • 9. Texas A&M
  • 10. Baylor

The biggest mover from last year’s season-ending rankings, unsurprisingly, was USC, which jumped up from 85th to 12th thanks to the arrivals of head coach Lincoln Riley, quarterback Caleb Williams and plenty of others.

You can see the top 25 here and all 131 here.

What we’re watching Wednesday 📺

🏀 Sparks at Liberty, 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

🏀 Lynx at Storm, 10 p.m. on NBA TV

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