Braves: A Nelson Cruz trade that works for the Nationals, too

Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals

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The Atlanta Braves could use another home run hitter in the lineup. Given his pedestrian statline so far this season, Nelson Cruz could be had on the cheap.

In his age-41 season, Cruz is in his final years as an MLB player. Surely, he’d rather play on a competitive team, rather than the lowly Washington Nationals, which have little chance to win the crowded NL East.

The Braves, meanwhile, could reach that point. The defending World Series champions look a piece or two away from making a serious run at the division crown. Yet, they remain eight games behind the Mets for first place after a slow start. An acquisition like Cruz, despite his .219/.292/.311 slash line, could provide the power necessary to jolt this team from its World Series hangover.

Braves rumors: A trade offer for Nelson Cruz

A trade for Cruz wouldn’t be very costly for an Atlanta team that would surely rather avoid sending top prospects to a rebuilding Washington team. That could come back to haunt them.

With that in mind, what’s a trade that might work for both sides?

Braves Get

Nelson Cruz

Nationals Get

Victor Vodnik

Cal Conley

Justin Dean

In Cruz, the Braves are receiving a middle-of-the-lineup bat with some pop. The smart money is on a rejuvenated Cruz putting up big numbers in Atlanta, similarly to how Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall played once being acquired by the Braves.

The Nationals meanwhile receive Vodnik, who has a plus fastball and could be a solid bullpen arm as early as 2023. Conley is a shortstop prospect, but is blocked by at least two players in Atlanta’s system. Dean is a 25-year-old outfielder who has plus-speed, but not much else. He’s a solid defensive player and base-stealing threat. None are top-10 prospects in the Braves system, but could have big-league potential if developed the right way.

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