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Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr says he won’t miss Freddie Freeman, clashed with former teammate

Matt Johnson
Ronald Acuña Jr, Freddie Freeman
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

While many Atlanta Braves fans will miss Freddie Freeman, count All-Star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. among those who doesn’t mind someone else taking Freeman’s spot in the clubhouse.

Freeman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason, signing with the club shortly after the Braves moved on from their franchise icon by acquiring Matt Olson.

While the Braves faced some criticism for the move, with some critical of the decision to move on from a clubhouse leader, it seems Freeman’s voice certainly won’t be missed by Acuña.

  • Ronald Acuña stats (2021): 24 home runs, 17 steals, .283/.394/.596, 157 wRC+

In a recent interview on Instagram Live, Acuña was asked what he would miss about Freeman and responded simply, “Me, nothing.” While the interview was in Spanish, multiple translations confirmed that Acuña made the comments during the interview.

Acuña detailed the relationship between the two All-Star sluggers. While they shared a clubhouse, the young outfielder said there were “lots of clashes.” He also detailed an incident as a rookie in 2018.

A native of Venezuela, Acuña arrived in the majors and wore eye black to begin his MLB career. Not long into living out his dream, Braves veterans called him into the manager’s office and wiped the eye black off Acuña’s face because they didn’t like it.

“When you come up as a rookie, there’s always somebody who wants to stick it to you. You come with your swagger from the minor leagues. You do your eyeblack . . . your sunglasses, your hat a little crooked. A lot of people look at it as wrong and I don’t look at it as wrong because it’s part of the game. So, a lot of veterans stuck it to me, when I came up in 2018, a lot of them stuck it to me.”

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. on early 2018 interaction with teammates as a rookie

Freeman does have a public history of criticizing Acuña. During the 2019 MLB postseason, Atlanta’s star outfielder was called out by Freeman for not hustling out of the box on a fly ball. Thinking it might be a home run, Acuna began with a trot to first base. It proved costly as the baseball deflected off the wall and he was held to a single.

Speaking to reports after the game, Freeman made it clear he wasn’t happy.

“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.”

Freddie Freeman on Ronald Acuña Jr. after 2019 playoff game vs St. Louis Cardinals

It’s clear Freeman and Acuña won’t be exchanging hugs when the Braves face the Dodgers for the first time in 2022. If there is some bad blood, it might even help add to a potential Dodgers-Braves rivalry this season.