Yes, that’s a very real headline at this point in the 2022-23 offseason. The Braves have some decisions to make, Shohei Ohtani struck a chord and Joe West edited his wikipedia.
The Atlanta Braves were struck with some surprising news late Wednesday night, as Ronald Acuña has been cleared by doctors to play for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. This is a quick pivot from Acuña’s previous decision, which was to sit out of the competition altogether and prepare for the upcoming MLB season.
As Cody Williams of FanSided noted last night, Acuña playing at all brings up some very real concerns for Braves fans:
“Obviously, the biggest concern about Ronald Acuña Jr. suiting up for Venezuela in the WBC is his health. Yes, the doctors have cleared him. However, for a player who looked still hampered by the injury he suffered in the 2021 season throughout much of last year, that won’t ease every worry.
In addition to the injury, though, it can’t be forgotten that Acuña also submitted perhaps the worst season of his young MLB career as he returned from injury. He posted a career-low OPS+ of 114, had by far the lowest home-run rate of his career, and was maddeningly inconsistent.”
So, what are the Braves to do? Well, surely Atlanta can’t ask Acuña not to represent his country. It makes all the sense in the world why he would want to do so — he even plays Winter ball in Venezuela.
Perhaps they could acquire some Acuña insurance in the outfield, just in case.
Atlanta Braves rumors: Could Trent Grisham be a fit?
As I proposed on Wednesday afternoon, the Braves could trade for a new shortstop and outfielder in one full swoop. While that proposal is as flawed as any you’ll find on the internet — as I suggested sending Ian Anderson and Vaughn Grissom in a package for Grisham and Ha-seong Kim — it shouldn’t alter the focus from Grisham himself.
Grisham won a Gold Glove last year and has experience playing all three outfield positions. He’s one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball — an area that Acuña could admittedly use some improvement in after his latest injury.