Alex Anthopulos: Goal is for Ronald Acuña, Ozzie Albies to be Braves for life

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Even though he’s not set to become a free agent until after the 2028 season, Ronald Acuña Jr. hasn’t been shy about the fact that he wants to remain with the Braves for his entire career, stating it on several occasions this offseason.

“It’s no secret I want to be a Brave for life,” Acuña said soon after he arrived at Spring Training. “That’s my hope. I hope I can stay here forever. Hopefully, we can make it happen soon.”

The ball is now in Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos’ court. Atlanta’s GM is notorious for getting out ahead of the curb when it comes to extending his superstars who want to stay because he knows it’s in the Braves’ best interest. The closer a player gets to free agency, the more likely he is to get the temptation to test the open market.

On 92.9 The Game’s Dukes and Bell, Anthopoulos recently said the goal is to keep both Ronald Acuña Jr. and his best friend Ozzie Albies in Atlanta for the entirety of their careers.

This is nothing more than the status quo from Alex Anthopoulos. Of course, the Braves would like to keep all of their star players in Atlanta for as long as possible. Sometimes it works out, like we’ve seen with Austin Riley, Matt Olson, Sean Murphy, Michael Harris II, Spencer Strider, and even Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies before.

But sometimes it doesn’t, as we’ve seen with Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson, and potentially Max Fried, who is set to become a free agent at the end of this season.

However, I will say that the situation with Acuña and Albies feels a lot more like the guys who have decided to stick long-term. Both players took below market deals a few years back to stay with the Braves already, and while the national media wishes they would harbor some sort of animosity because of it, claiming they were taken advantage of, both have shown nothing but love and gratefulness to the organization, even saying they want to spend their entire careers in Atlanta.

Furthermore, in a spectacular recent piece for the Player’s Tribune written by Acuña, he gave fans a glimpse around the curtain to the person he really is, the side we don’t typically get to see. 

Acuña may be a flashy personality off the field, but he’s really a shy guy who came from humble beginnings with a unique passion for the game of baseball. He spends most of his offseason in his home country of Venezuela, a place he adores, and money doesn’t seem like a top priority.

Make no mistake about it, both Acuña and Albies are set to get paid in a big way, but they don’t seem like the type of personalities that are going to hold Alex Anthopoulos’ feet to the fire for record-setting contracts. Generational wealth is coming regardless; they know that, and from the outside looking in, it feels like they would much rather make a legacy in a place where they are happy rather than chase dollar signs down the line.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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