NASHVILLE, Tenn. — This was where the Padres were, so they did what they felt they had to do.
It can be true both that they made a mind-blowing choice to jettison a highly motivated future Hall of Famer in his prime and that they made what seems to be a strong effort to mitigate the stench of spilled milk.
At any rate, we can stop talking about the Padres' need to shed payroll, at least as a present requirement.
That, they have already done.
On Wednesday, they sent Juan Soto and his projected $33 million salary (plus Trent Grisham's projected $5 million salary) to the Yankees for pitchers Michael King, Randy Vásquez, Jhony Brito and Drew Thorpe and catcher Kyle Higashioka.
Now the filling out of their 2024 roster can commence.
"Part of the discussion in the last few days was, 'Do you wait? Do you hold out and see what's going on in the market?'" President of Baseball Operations A.J. Preller said late Wednesday night regarding the Padres' internal debate before pulling the trigger on the biggest deal of Major League Baseball's offseason so far.
"I think our group did a good job of fleshing out different options. But it also gives us some clarity. There's a lot of good players out there — both trade and free agency — that we want to be at least able to participate and see if we can add to our team. And this deal enables us to kind of move on with the offseason."
That is important.
There is no risk of overstating it. The seven-player swap will play a major role in determining the Padres' course of action the rest of this offseason, their ability to compete for a championship in 2024 and beyond and Preller's job security.
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