The Braves still sit second in the NL East and Ronald Acuña Jr.’s struggles could be a big reason the team needs to be aggressive at the trade deadline.
Firmly entrenched in the National League playoff race, the
are only 1.5 games out of first place in the NL East and seem sure to head to the postseason to defend last year’s World Series triumph. But to try to get back to the Fall Classic, they could use some reinforcements for a number of reasons.
This past weekend’s season-ending injury for outfielder Adam Duvall is certainly part of the equation. While the emergence of rookie Michael Harris II does soften the blow, that does increase the urgency to make a move before the Aug. 2 MLB Trade Deadline.
However, one of the team’s stars also plays into any need to be aggressive at the trade deadline. Specifically, the lackluster play of outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. as of late adds to the urgency that the team should be showing at to make a splashy trade.
Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr.’s struggles heighten trade deadline urgency
Acuña made his return from a torn ACL suffered last season in late April and seemed to hit the ground running in May and even for most of June as well. The month of July, however, has been a different story.
In 19 games coming into Monday’s series opener against the Phillies, Acuña has slashed just .227/.341/.307 for the month while notching just four extra-base hits (only one home run) and five RBI. Sure, he’s got seven stolen bases, but the overall production has been lacking.
This is not to say that the Braves are going to give up faith in Acuña who, to his credit, has admitted fully that he’s not been himself of late. However, it is to say that Atlanta needs to find more production in a hurry, particularly now that Duvall is also not an option to insert into the lineup because Acuña hasn’t been the player they’ve often relied on.
As mentioned, the expectation was already that the Braves will be MLB Trade Deadline buyers. But with the way Acuña has been struggling, that could be ramped up further over the week until the deadline as they try to fortify the lineup for the stretch run.