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Juan Soto, the talented outfielder who joined the San Diego Padres in a high-profile trade, initially faced a series of struggles upon donning a Friars uniform. He came into the team in August 2022 with high hopes, and although the team reached the NLCS after an 89-win season, Soto wasn't the player they traded for. 

And going into this season, it hasn't been an ideal start for Soto and the Padres. They're going through a rough patch, falling below the .500 mark and struggling to find their rhythm. This start and the struggles of Soto to begin the season are a concern, and the MLB Athletic staff display their concern in their latest MLB power rankings. The staff posed a question that is fair to ask at the moment; here's what they had to say. 

An airline once lost my bag for eight months. I had long presumed it lost for good and replaced everything in it, only to get a call out of the blue that it was waiting for me at the airport. Is that how the Padres feel right now? They shipped off their best prospects for Soto, one of the game’s unrivaled young hitters, and got a guy who was better than his batting average but below his reputation. They even tried to replace his production, shelling out for Xander Bogaerts this winter.

However, in recent weeks, Soto has shown signs of regaining his form. His swing has become more fluid, his plate discipline sharper, and his overall approach more polished. Soto's resurgence has been a welcome development for the Padres and their fan base, injecting much-needed excitement and optimism into the team's prospects.

Through mid-May, Juan is slashing .370/.473/.696 and is looking more like the lefty slugger they traded the farm for last summer. The decision to trade for Soto was a calculated risk, as the Padres had to part ways with valuable assets to acquire him. The trade involved giving up several top-tier prospects and possibly depleting the team's farm system. However, if Soto continues to perform at his current trajectory, the long-term benefits of having him in the lineup could outweigh the short-term costs.

For a team like the Padres, whose expectations are nothing short of winning a World Series, acquiring a player of Soto's caliber was a necessary move. The "World Series or bust" mentality requires bold moves and the willingness to take risks. Although the start of the season was far from ideal, Soto's recent resurgence brings renewed hope for the team and its fans.

The Padres and Soto are too talented not to overcome this slow start, and I expect them, like many, to compete for the commissioner's trophy come this Fall.