Ronald Acuña Jr. joined elite company Thursday night when he took home a Silver Slugger Award becoming just the third player to win one at age 21 or younger. The other two being Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Trout. Griffey is in the Hall of Fame and Trout is assuredly headed there when his playing days are finished.
SB Nation’s Harry Lyles wrote on Friday that Acuña is just getting started and there should be many more awards to come. The award comes with good timing as Acuña’s great performance in the division series was in many ways overshadowed by a base running mistake.
There will no doubt be more bumps in the road, but what we are witnessing is a generational talent. He is in no way above criticism but he should also be celebrated and will soon be the face of the Braves franchise and likely its best player since Chipper Jones who just happens to be in the Hall of Fame as well.
More Braves News
The Braves announced on Friday that they had agreed to a one-year deal with reliever Darren O’Day. O’Day will make $2.25 million in 2020 and his contract includes a $3.5 million option for 2021. O’Day missed most of the season with a forearm strain but was solid over eight games down the stretch.
MLB Pipeline names 30 candidates, one for each team, for the 2020 Rookie of the Year. The Braves pick is outfielder Cristian Pache who has the potential to force his way into Atlanta’s outfield picture.
Free Agency Notes
The Braves may have interest in a reunion with Josh Donaldson but it appears that they are going to have some competition. The Texas Rangers are one team that has expressed interest in Donaldson according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Texas has money to spend and as an AL club would have the option of using Donaldson as a DH.
FanGraphs released their list of the Top 50 free agents available earlier this week. On Friday, they took a look at the Top 6 names on that list and projected where they might end up signing. Donaldson came in at No. 4 on the list and is projected to return to Atlanta on a 3-year, $71 million deal.
Donaldson however was not among this group of seven free agents that MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand predicts could sign early this offseason.
The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly showing interest in free agent shortstop Didi Gregorius according to a report by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Gregorius spent the first five seasons of his professional career with Cincinnati before he was traded away to the Diamondbacks and then later on to the Yankees.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are reportedly considering handing over control of their baseball operations to Blue Jays VP of baseball operations Ben Cherington. Cherington has spent the last three seasons in Toronto.
The San Francisco Giants are reportedly focusing their search for a new manager on Astros bench coach Joe Espada. Espada reportedly spent Wednesday interviewing again in San Francisco. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that a decision could be coming soon.
The Philadelphia Phillies announced Friday that they have hired Juan Castro to serve as the team’s infield coach. He replaces Bobby Dickerson who left to become the Padres bench coach.
Reports suggest that the Padres will hire Larry Rothschild as the team’s pitching coach. He would replace Darren Balsley who has served in that capacity for 17 seasons. Rothschild spent the last nine seasons with the Yankees
The Hiroshima Carp of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball have announced that they will allow second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi to pursue an opportunity with a Major League Club. Kikuchi is 29 years old and is a lifetime .271/.315/.391 hitter but is regarded as one of the best defensive players in Japan.