Whiteville native MacKenzie Gore has been traded from the San Diego Padres to the Washington Nationals.

A rather notable trade happened in Major League Baseball today, but most people won’t pay much attention to one name in the deal: MacKenzie Gore.

According to multiple sources, including ESPN, the San Diego Padres are acquiring two superstars from the Washington Nationals, Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Washington is getting a package of at least six players, including MacKenzie Gore. It’s being called one of the most substantial Major League Baseball deadline trades in history.

If Gore’s name sounds familiar, it should. He was a stellar high school baseball player at Whiteville High School. After a high school career that saw him win MVP honors in three North Carolina state championship games, and was named the Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year, Gore was the No. 3 overall pick in the Major League Baseball Draft in 2017.

It didn’t take long for Gore to make an impression in Minor League Baseball with the Padres’ affiliates. He moved through the system quickly, and made his Major League Baseball debut on April 15, 2022, against the Atlanta Braves. He earned his first win on April 20, and has been with the Padres all season long so far.

Gore has bounced back and forth between being a starter and relief pitcher for San Diego, but has remained a highly sought after prospect.

That led to today’s transaction, where the Nationals, looking to start a rebuilding project, cut ties with two of their high-priced superstars in Soto and Bell. It would require the Padres to give up a couple of prime young targets, and Gore fit the profile, alongside CJ Abrams, a 21-year-old shortstop.

While Gore did recently land on the injured list, it apparently wasn’t enough to deter the Nationals from wanting him to pitch in D.C. The Nationals reportedly are getting Gore, Abrams, outfielder Robert Hassell III, outfielder James Wood, pitcher Jarlin Susana, and another major league player who hasn’t been named yet (though it is reportedly Eric Hosmer).

Soto has been a hot commodity around baseball, after he turned down what would have been the largest contract in baseball history last month. But the Nationals have the worst record in baseball and needed to move on from their expensive assets.

Brandon Plotnick is a former sports journalist, now living in the digital space with interests all over the musical and pop culture map.