Atlanta Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuña is likely to win NL MVP shortly, but that doesn't mean his job for the 2023 season is done. Acuña, like most stars around baseball, is a master recruiter. With free agency and trade season upon us, could Acuña help the Braves land a fellow star outfielder in Juan Soto of the San Diego Padres?
Acuña got Braves fans and media buzzing after he tweeted that he'd like to play with Soto someday. Considering the length on Acuña's current contract, it makes far more sense for Soto to come to the ATL than the other way around.
Soto is available for trade, though the Braves have yet to enter that conversation as far as we know. Perhaps Acuña's enthusiasm can help push the ball in Alex Anthopoulos's court. AA is busy at the moment, especially after Charlie Morton opted in to the final year of his contract. The Braves must get creative to improve their current roster. Revamping the bullpen and rotation are on their wish list, along with finding a reliable left fielder.
What would it take for Braves to trade for Juan Soto
The latest buzz around a Juan Soto trade is that the Padres may wait until the offseason to pull the trigger. San Diego still believes it can win with this core, and in holding onto Soto, they give themselves a chance. The Padres also owe $50 million to the bank thanks to a loan taken out this past season, though, so their chances of keeping Soto long term are not as high as they once were.
For the Braves to change the Padres minds, they'd likely have to make their entire farm system available, which includes A.J. Smith-Shawver. Adding in some MLB-level talent like Vaughn Grissom would help, as well. Essentially, the Braves system would have to start from scratch, or close to it, if they were to pull off a deal for Soto.