Braves: 3 young players Atlanta would have to sell in any Juan Soto trade

Jul 16, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto (22) tosses his cap while standing in the infield prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves remain an unlikely trade suitor for Juan Soto for any number of reasons, including the fact they reside in the same division as the Nationals. But, what if…

Last year’s World Series champions will look for upgrades at the MLB Trade Deadline. It’s unlikely any of those upgrades come with the same value Soto would bring.

Soto is available for the right trade package, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, after he turned down a $440 million contract last week which would’ve made him the highest-paid player in all of baseball. The Nationals view their chances of re-signing him unfavorably, and therefore want to get as much as they can for him as possible.

By acquiring Soto now, a contender would guarantee at least three postseason runs (ideally) with the 23-year-old at the center of their lineup. Soto does not become a free agent until his age-26 season, assuming he is not extended before then.

For now, a trade remains unlikely, in part because the demand would be far too high for Atlanta to take.

Juan Soto rumors: Braves could trade William Contreras

Contreras is an All-Star himself, and therefore carries tremendous value at a premium position. Most teams don’t have that sort of young talent to offer, thus making an Atlanta trade package with the 24-year-old in the middle of it likely the most attractive in terms of players ready to contribute right away.

The question is, do the Nationals plan on competing right away? Or is this a complete teardown?

Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t have much to work with in terms of prospect capital. Heck, he just traded away Cristian Pache and Drew Waters before they got much of a chance in Atlanta. Contreras may be the most valuable asset they have now that he’s proven himself at the big-league level.

Contreras is slashing .267/.353/.547 on the season, which is exceptional offensive production from the catcher position. Much like his brother Willson, this won’t be the first time he makes the All-Star team.

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