MLB Trade Rumors: Braves’ Plan for Outfield After Ronald Acuña Jr. Injury Revealed

MLB Trade Rumors: Braves’ Plan for Outfield After Ronald Acuña Jr. Injury Revealed
Timothy LogoFeatured Columnist IVMay 28, 2024

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 26: Ronald Acuña Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves is attended to by a trainer and third base coach Matt Tuiasosopo #89 after falling to the ground with an apparent injury in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 26, 2024 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Justin Berl/Getty Images

Ronald Acuña Jr. has been lost for the season for the Atlanta Braves, severely impacting their World Series hopes.

And while the Braves could eventually look to bolster the outfield via a trade, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported Tuesday that the Braves would “stay internal” with the trio of Michael Harris II, Jarred Kelenic and Adam Duvall:

MLB Network @MLBNetwork

“While I am told for now they are going to stay internal… I would expect at some point in time, an outfielder will arrive to Atlanta.”@jonmorosi on how the Braves will address Ronald Acuña Jr.’s injury and a few outfielders he expects to be available at the trade deadline ⬇️

Defensively, it will be Duvall taking Acuña’s spot in right field for the time being. He had previously been platooning with Kelenic in left field.

“Right now, it’s going to be pretty consistent,” manager Brian Snitker told reporters Monday. “It’s what you see. That’s who we got.”

The team also called up J.P. Martínez from Triple-A as a depth piece.

As for who will hit leadoff, that may vary.

“It’s a day-to-day thing,” Snitker noted. “I like [Ozzie Albies] against the lefty, and I may stay with him [there]. I don’t know. We’ll see how everyone else is going and what it looks like on a daily basis.”

During Monday’s 8-4 loss to the Washington Nationals, it was indeed Albies atop the order.

There is no replacing Acuña, a four-time All-Star and the defending NL MVP. The Braves are a worse team without him. But they have proved capable of weathering storms in the past and still have one of the better offenses in baseball.

“There are few players in this league that are on a level that he is,” third baseman Austin Riley told reporters. “It’s a joy to watch him every night. To see that happen, you feel for him. You feel for him because he’s such a talented player. I know he’s going to work his butt off to get back. But it’s definitely tough to replace Ronald.”

As for the current outfield trio, Harris is having a decent season (.261, five homers, 17 RBI, 23 runs, eight stolen bases), while Kelenic (.258, three homers, nine RBI, 14 runs) and Duvall (.209, five homers, 13 RBI, 12 runs) have been unremarkable, albeit while splitting time.

It’s been a tough year for Atlanta, which also lost ace starter Spencer Strider for the year. The Braves (30-21) already find themselves six games behind the Philadelphia Phillies (38-17) in the NL East.

If that gulf widens—or the team finds itself struggling to stay afloat in the wild-card chase—it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team make a splashier move on the trade market.

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