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How the Juan Soto deal may alter MLB balance of power for years, and create a $500-million man in the process

Juan Soto trade rumors: Padres have 'lots of optimism'; Cardinals reluctant to include Dylan Carlson

Major League Baseball’s trade deadline produced a good number of nice moves, and some will likely have a direct impact on the way this year’s playoffs might unfold. But there was one deal that may very well have implications on the playoffs for years to come. 

By now, baseball fans have seen the Juan Soto stats that show how the young star compares favorably to some of the greatest players in baseball history. We’re talking about Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and those types of inner-circle legends. Soto doesn’t turn 24 years old until October, yet he already has 569 hits, 108 doubles, 119 home runs, 358 RBI, 399 runs and a World Series ring. 

To see a player this special dealt is pretty jarring. It almost never happens, as we almost never see players the caliber of Soto. He’s exceedingly rare. 

That’s why the move will be felt throughout baseball for years. It’s a landscape-changing move, and to find a comp you’d need go 15 years back in time.

After the Soto deal went through, one of the first thoughts I had was when Cabrera was traded in 2007 after his age-24 season from the Marlins to the Tigers. It wasn’t a deadline deal, but Miggy was also a generational talent at a similar age. The Marlins won the World Series his rookie year. They followed with two winning seasons before starting to go south. Cabrera was shipped to Detroit along with Dontrelle Willis. 

The headliners of the deal were outfielder Cameron Maybin and promising lefty starter Andrew Miller. They were both top-10 prospects in all of baseball before the 2007 season. 

Maybin had a nice career, though it was mostly as a journeyman backup. Miller became an ace reliever, but not for another five years and for different teams. Four other players were included, with the biggest impact coming from reliever Burke Badenhop. 

Was it really worth it for the Marlins to remake their franchise by trading Miguel Freaking Cabrera when he was only 24? It sure doesn’t look like it. 

Cabrera would become a Tigers legend, a perennial All-Star who won back-to-back MVPs. He won the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski. The Tigers won the 2012 pennant and were one of the most successful franchises for the first half of the 2010s. 

It’s the type of trajectory in a deal like that that seems like a cautionary tale for the Nationals and underlines the potential for the Padres to hit big. 

Obviously, that…

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