Superstar Juan Soto just turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract extension with the Washington Nationals. Now the Nationals refused to charter him a flight to the Home Run Derby (which he won), and rumors are swirling that he may be on the trade bloc.
Only a few teams have the prospect capital to acquire Soto. The Braves’ weak farm system prevents them from making a legitimate run for the all-star. And while the Nationals are unlikely to trade within the National League East, let’s imagine what it would take for Soto to be in the same outfield as Ronald Acuña Jr.
The Nationals made it clear that whoever takes Soto will also need to take on Patrick Corbin’s disastrous contract. The team signed him to a 6 year, $140 million contract in 2019. Corbin has a 4.73 ERA over his tenure with the team, and he has two years left on his contract.
One thing is obvious about this deal: rookie sensation Michael Harris II would be the headliner. He has an .816 OPS in his first year, and everyone would be disappointed by his departure. But Soto might be the one guy that would be worth it.
The Nats will also want one more elite hitting prospect, and that will have to be shortstop Vaughn Grissom. Grissom has torn up the minors this year and is likely the Braves top hitting prospect.
The combination of Harris and Grissom will get the Nats’ attention, but some pitching will be required to land Soto.
It’s reasonable to think the Braves will balk at allowing fireballer Spencer Strider to leave after losing Harris. That means that Kyle Muller will be the top arm on the move.
He’s struggled so far in the majors, but he’s been fantastic in AAA this season. Muller has a 2.96 ERA in 16 starts will striking out 11.2 batters per nine innings.
Another arm will be needed and that will likely be Tucker Davidson. He has a similar story to Muller as a guy who has dominated the minor leagues while struggling at the major league level. However, both pitchers have the ability to be frontline starters in the future
Throw in a less-touted prospect like Bryce Elder or Indigo Diaz, and that is around what it would take for Soto to become a Brave.
This move would destroy any resemblance of a farm system that the Braves have, but it might be the thing to create a dynasty.
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