Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. sheds light on rocky relationship with Freddie Freeman, says he won’t miss him

The Atlanta Braves shocked the baseball world last month when they chose to trade for Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson instead of re-sign Freddie Freeman, one of the faces of the franchise dating back more than a decade. Whether or not that proves to be the right decision on the field is to be seen — Olson did outhit Freeman last season and is several years younger — but there’s now reason to think clubhouse dynamics could have played a role in their decision-making process.

Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. did an Instagram live interview on Wednesday night with Dominican journalist Yancen Pujols in which he addressed Freeman’s departure. According to Pujols, Acuña said that he won’t miss Freeman and that he didn’t speak with him often. He also claimed Freeman had been unkind during his rookie season.

Here’s a snippet of the video, during which Acuña can be heard saying “nada” in response to a question about if they spoke frequently. 

Acuña, for his part, has since tweeted a denial in response to a tweet outlining some of his comments. 

Clubhouse dynamics and interpersonal relationships are impossible to judge from the outside. Freeman had criticized Acuña publicly before, however. Freeman said the following in October 2019, after Acuña recorded only a single on a long flyball in a playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals because he behaved as if it was a sure home run: “It is frustrating,” he said, according to USA Today. “I think you have that conversation once. Kinda beat a dead horse if you keep having that same conversation over and over again. That can’t happen in the playoffs, can’t happen in the regular season.”

Hear former Marlins president David Samson share Opening Day stories and more on the Nothing Personal with David Samson podcast. Listen below:

Regardless of Acuña’s thoughts on Freeman, the Braves will begin their championship defense on Thursday night (8:08 p.m. ET) against the Cincinnati Reds. Acuña, who is still recovering from a torn ACL and isn’t expected to play until May, won’t be in the lineup; but then, neither will Freeman.

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