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Could the Nats have avoided trading Juan Soto? Your questions, answered.

The Nationals reached a deal Tuesday to send Josh Bell and Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Tick. Tick. Boom.

Baseball’s trade deadline is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and when we initially scheduled this chat, Juan Soto was still a National. But that changed in a blink with a seismic shock felt throughout the sport, when news broke that Washington had agreed to send Soto and Josh Bell to the San Diego Padres for a package that includes multiple highly ranked prospects.

Svrluga: The Juan Soto deal is heartbreaking. Now the hope can begin.

I was planning to do a trade deadline Q&A with help from Chelsea Janes, our national baseball writer, at our usually scheduled time of 1 p.m. Tuesday. But we decided to postpone the chat for a few hours while we processed this breaking news, then got going at 3:30 p.m.

Here are some of the questions we answered:

Read the full chat below.

Looking for more? Catch up on The Post’s coverage of the Nationals:

Thomas Floyd, an editor for The Post’s Sports section, produced this Q&A.