Everybody….. the Braves have now solidified themselves are a threat for the next eight years in counting.
Tuesday afternoon, while a lot of the world was eating lunch, doing some meth or climbing trees, there was a 21 year old who had just helped himself and his bank account very much. That 21 year old is Braves phenom Ronald Acuna.
The Braves agreed to an eight year $100 million contract with the 2018 National League Rookie of the Year Tuesday afternoon. The contract includes two option years worth $17 million with a $10 million buyout for each of the two years according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.com.
For all Met, Phillies, Marlins, and Nationals fans out there, I’m sorry. That just gave the Braves another eight year window to build a World Series team. The Braves still have Freddie Freeman under contract until 2021 so I would look for the Braves to really put their foot on the gas and get going before his contract runs out. On the other hand, I would also look for Freeman (who signed an eight year extension for $135 million after the 2013 season) to get an extension that would make him a Brave for life. Things have really took a positive turn for the Braves in a year after they were deemed to have a terrible year last year. Yes, I was one of those pessimistic, stupid, incompetent humans to doubt the Braves last year and for that I apologize and will never do again.
Last year through only 111 games, Acuna hit .293/.366/.552 with 26 home runs, 26 doubles, and 16 steals. Just in case you forgot, that was good enough for Rookie of the Year. Potential might not even be the right word to use with this kind if talent. I don’t think anyone could ever compare to Mike Trout, but if there were anyone to possessed skills very similar to Trout, it would be Acuna.
The man can do it all plus can play all three outfield positions at a very high level. Acuna plays Center Field naturally, but with Ender Inciarte patrolling Center at the moment, it gives the Braves a great outfield for the rest of 2019. BUT, in the event of something happening to Inciarte it gives the Braves options in the future, whether it be home grown talent or in the free agent market, to look for a left fielder or center fielder. Acuna also can hit in any spot in the lineup and currently is hitting fourth. Although he did most of his damage last year hitting lead off during the second half of the 2018 season.
Things are looking up in Atlanta for the future. With Acuna in for another eight years, and a young pitching staff in the waiting, it’s going to be beautiful. For now, let’s focus on a 2019 and another playoff appearance. I don’t want to get greedy or ruin it, but a World Series would be really nice….