Braves analyst thinks Ronald Acuña is going to eventually hold out

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Ronald Acuña Jr.’s contract has been in the spotlight of the national baseball media ever since he agreed to an eight-year extension back in April 2019. The deal was for $100 million over ten years, which most analysts believe to be one of the biggest cases of highway robbery we’ve ever seen in the sport.

Because of that, there’s constant speculation about whether Acuña is unhappy, which will eventually lead to him demanding a trade or sitting out entirely. Acuña himself has never indicated anything of the sort, but that hasn’t stopped national media pundits from assuming he’s disgruntled behind closed doors.

Most recently, Braves analyst Chris Dimino from 680 The Fan chimed in, saying he believes Acuña will eventually hold out for more money, something we rarely see in baseball, even if it often happens in the NFL.

“He is starting to look around at Trea Turner and Carlos Rodon,” Dimino said, via Sportskeeda. “And what Juan Soto is going to get or what Manny Machado got? I say he’s going to hold out. People in the Braves hate when I say that out loud.”

“If Juan Soto gets $500 million, then Ronald Acuna Jr. might have to go pick his head off the ground and put it on his shoulders to tell the world that I’m actually holding out,” Dimino continued, via Sportskeeda. 

680 The Fan, which is the official radio network for the Atlanta Braves, has some fantastic analysts when it comes to the team — Dimino included. So, I’m not going to sit here and say he’s an absolute idiot that has no idea what he’s talking about. With that being said, I couldn’t disagree with him more on this particular topic.

The speculation that Acuña is unhappy is just that, speculation. Not once has he ever hinted that he is disgruntled with the contract that he signed four years ago, and everything he’s said this offseason would lead one to believe he couldn’t be more excited to be on the field for the Braves, healthy and ready to prove he’s still one of the best in the game.

Right around the same time, Ozzie Albies also signed a lengthy extension to stay in Atlanta worth $35 million over seven years. Some called the contract one of the worst ever signed by a player in the history of the game, but Albies has said since signing the deal that it wasn’t about the money.

In the same interview, Albies also referred to Acuña as his brother while stating, “I want to be a Brave for the rest of my life.”

On numerous occasions since then, both Acuña and Albies have said how much they love playing for the Atlanta Braves, despite the national media trying their best to create a divide between the parties.

Beyond just feelings, though — because we can never really tell what a player is feeling deep down — I’m not sure it makes any sense financially for Acuña to hold out. He would be giving up $17 million, and he’s coming off the worst year of his career, which followed a season in which he tore his ACL.

Acuña also has the opportunity other players like Julio Rodriguez, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr. don’t. Because of the way his contract is currently constructed, Acuña is set to become a free agent at 31, when he’s still in the middle of his prime. If he performs as we all expect between now and then, he could be looking at another ten-year contract in his future, similar to the one Aaron Judge just signed with the Yankees.

I understand why this is a popular topic among those in the media. There’s no denying that Acuña’s current contract is one of the biggest bargains in baseball. However, there’s a helluva an opportunity for him to make even more money than his counterparts because he signed a deal much earlier in his career and will have the opportunity to sign a second contract further down the road.

I think there’s very little chance Acuña holds out. He seems to love the game too much, has shown no signs he is unhappy, and also has the opportunity to cash in big later in his career. This isn’t something I would be worried about as a Braves fan.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire


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