Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Despite a lack of progress in contract extension negotiations at the start of the 2021 season, the notion that Freddie Freeman would no longer be part of the Atlanta Braves was nearly impossible to envision.
Freeman had emerged as the face of the franchise since being selected by the Braves in the second round of the 2007 MLB Draft. He established strong roots in the community and was viewed as the heir apparent to Chipper Jones as the cornerstone of the organization.
After Freeman helped lead the Braves to their first World Series title since 1995, it was widely believed he would quickly be re-signed. However, frustration arose between the Southern California native and Braves front office, which allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers to swoop in.
Despite the perception of Freeman being liked by all in the Braves organization, Ronald Acuña Jr. reportedly was critical of his former teammate during an interview on Instagram, per Hector Gomez of Z101:
“I won’t miss Freddie Freeman. We had friction, he didn’t care when I was plunked. Freddie was overbearing and he wasn’t someone I could talk to ever”, Ronald Acuña Jr. on Freddie Freeman in an interview with @YancenPujols. pic.twitter.com/Nzc991i94t
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) April 7, 2022
As Acuña’s purported comments began to spread across social media, he denied criticizing Freeman:
I NEVER SAY THAT
— Ronald Acuna Jr (@ronaldacunajr24) April 7, 2022
However, Dominican Republic-based reporter Yancen Pujols, who conducted the interview on Instagram Live claimed Acuña did share those remarks about Freeman:
Ronald said he won’t miss Freddie Freeman, said he wasn’t nice to him in his rookie year and even talked about the rookie hazing. The hit by pitch stuff was something I mentioned first. GN.
— Yancen Pujols (@YancenPujols) April 7, 2022
In the only clip that has been released at this time, Acuña did state he is not going to miss Freeman. He implied there was a disagreement between the two when Acuña joined the Braves as a rookie and wanted to wear his eye black a specific way.
Nevertheless, when Miami Marlins starter Jose Ureña threw at Acuña during an August 2018 game, Freeman came to his defense and called the right-hander’s actions “gutless.” However, Freeman called out Acuña for a lack of hustle during the 2019 postseason.
Acuña broke Freeman’s Braves record
Under a different front office than the current regime, the Braves signed Freeman to an eight-year, $135 million contract extension in February 2014. That was the richest contract in Braves history, surpassing the seven-year, $90 million pact Jones received in 2000.
Acuña then signed the largest contract in Braves franchise history with his eight-year, $100 million deal but that designation now belongs to Matt Olson by way of an eight-year, $168 million contract extension he signed after being traded by the Oakland Athletics.
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