The Braves will not trade Ronald Acuna for Sonny Gray, it says here

Ronald Acuna, bubbling up fast. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

About the Atlanta Braves and trades, we should know never to say never. About the possibility that they might include Ronald Acuna in a deal for Oakland’s Sonny Gray, I’ll eliminate all wiggle room and say …

Never.

Reports circulated that the A’s are seeking a center fielder in return for Gray. Subsequent reports held that they’d be interested in Acuna. They should be interested in Acuna. He’s the best player in baseball’s best farm system. He had an OPS of .814 in High-A this season. Then he moved to Double-AA, where his OPS was .895. Now he’s at Triple-A Gwinnett, where his OPS is .935.

Got that? He has moved twice this year, and he has gotten better at every stop. Oh, and he’s 19.

There’s a real chance he could be starting for the big-league Braves on Opening Day 2018. He wouldn’t be at Gwinnett if the Braves were slow-tracking him. He’s the reason Nick Markakis is very likely to be traded very soon. He’s the commodity the Braves’ rebuild-around-arms was believed to lack, meaning position players with power. (He has 15 home runs this year, and he’s growing into his body. He can also run: He has 35 stolen bases.)

He’s the No. 8 prospect in MLB Pipeline’s just-updated Top 100. He’s the second-youngest among the top 20. This Braves’ administration inherited Acuna from the Frank Wren days and has been ecstatic about his potential — “ecstatic” is not an overstatement — since the fall of 2015. Now he’s almost here. No way he goes anywhere else, not for Sonny Gray, probably not for anybody.

Maybe for Mike Trout, but he’s not yet available. Maybe for Clayton Kershaw, assuming the Braves’ doctors get a look at his latest back X-rays. But you can count the number of players who would tempt the Braves to part with Acuna on one hand, and you mightn’t need the thumb. In an organization where almost nobody is untouchable, he’s the closest thing. (Yes, closer than Freddie Freeman. Because Acuna is eight years younger.)

As for Gray: The Braves want him for the reasons everybody wants him — he’s good and he’s under contract through the 2019 season. He also has a history of injury, and he’s 5-foot-10. (Some believe there’s a correlation between the two.) If you got a completely healthy Gray, you’d get 60-some starts over the next two seasons, at which point he’d become a free agent. If you keep Acuna and he stays healthy and comes close to fulfilling his promise, you’d get 450 games before he’s eligible for arbitration.

No, not every prospect pans out. Dansby Swanson is no longer starting. Jason Heyward has become a solid all-around player, but he’s not a superstar. (Though he’s paid like one.) But we need to note the velocity in Acuna’s rise. In the spring of 2016, he wasn’t on any Top 100 lists; today he’s in everyone’s top 10.

The Braves will not, I feel confident in saying, trade him for Sonny Gray. They might, however, trade Ozzie Albies. Might, I said.

Reader Comments 0

58 comments
I_was_there_for_715
I_was_there_for_715

OK, looking at this tweet at the beginning of the article:


"#Braves" have remained involved in the Sonny Gray sweepstakes, source confirms @JoelSherman1 report; #Athletics interested in Ronald Acuna"



The way some people are reacting to this "possibility", I put forth this COMPLETELY similar thought:


"#ABaseballFan has remained involved in the Bachelorette sweepstakes, source confirms @MarkBradley report;  I_was_there_for_715 interested in Gal Gadot"


sea8491
sea8491

The more I think of the current state of the Braves, here is the bottom line;  1.  less than ideal ownership 2 ownership that will not spend money equal to top teams in major league 3 currently has a pretty good farm system with some great prospects.  And now the Braves are talking about trading away some great prospects for a pitcher that will not make any difference for the next two years and leave the Braves when he becomes a free agent, how silly?  May we please keep our stud prospects and be patient?



colt07
colt07

Oh No! Bradley tells us there is no way he is traded. I am surprised he was not on a Delta jet to the Bay Area last night!!!!!!

58Supersports
58Supersports

One thing for sure, Coppy will not ask the fans who to trade and not trade. That's what worries me... just have to trust his judgement. Acuna is a big no! Go Braves.

I wish Swanson luck in AAA

David McCallum
David McCallum

In an ideal world, I would have Carmego at third, because there is no way the Braves are going to give up on Swanson so soon. I will have Albies at second. That's my infield. I know there is not a lot of power there but when you have talent like this, you just don't let it go so easily. My OF will be Acuna and two power hitters surrounding him. This is all future related guys.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@David McCallum Don't forget about Kevin Maitan , "the next Chipper Jones" currently in Danville. He is the projected Braves 3B in 2019 or 2020. Look for one of the three Camargo, Albies or Swanson to be included in a trade for starting pitching sometimes before the 2019 season. 

I_was_there_for_715
I_was_there_for_715

The Braves are too many players away from reaching the playoffs.  They need several players (both currently on the 25-man roster and not on the 25-man roster) to step forward for them to reach the playoffs in 2018 - even with adding Sonny Gray and not touching their current 25-man roster.  So, maybe they make a decent run in the 2019 playoffs and then lose Gray to free agency.  Why is that a good situation?


Maybe Gray looked like a eventual/potential #1 starter in 2015, but, since then, injuries and mediocre numbers.  Looking at his ceiling of what the Braves can expect through 2019, maybe winning a playoff series or two, and, then losing him to free agency for nothing?  Doesn't sound like a good deal to me.


One reader below suggested that the A's would throw in other players, but, I seriously doubt that when other teams wouldn't demand that in a trade.  In other articles/threads, people have suggested packaging Allard, Abies, and, more to get Gray.  Allard has been projected as a #1 starter - #2 at worst - in the majors.  I think that Albies can be a MLB All-Star for at least 5 years, either at 2B or SS.  Why would the Braves sacrifice the next 6-8 years of Allard and Albies for a pitcher that won't lead them to a World Series Championship before he leaves in free agency?


Yes, Gray would leave in free agency.  By 2019 and 2020, how many of the Braves' minor pitchers will reach the majors, be successful enough to keep, and, be under team control for another 5-6 years?  Enough that the Braves would not pay the free agent money Gray would want.  When the Braves signed Maddux, he was much more established and a much safer sign than what Gray looks like right now.


If the Braves were closer to winning a World Series, maybe considering acquiring a pitcher like Gray would be a good idea.  But, no.

sea8491
sea8491

Hope John Schuerholz does not get involved in trade discussions.  Do not want to trade any of the young studs in the minor leagues for Sonny Gray.  the list of no trades include, allard, Sorkoa, Anderson, Wentz,  and/or Kyle Wright.  Braves have the makings of a pitching dynasty.  I hope the Braves do not do something stupid

David McCallum
David McCallum

@sea8491 Totally agree! If I'm the Braves, I'm trading none of these young guys, not even for Kershaw. Damaged goods, watch! That guy has at least two more years in his career. With the Braves farm system they have a chance to become the Astros as early as next season. Keep these young guys. 

Jayce Brittain Dickens
Jayce Brittain Dickens

Albies is three years younger than swanson!!!! He has more homers this year than swanson. He's been better at every level than swanson. Why do people even think about trading albies. If we're gonna trade someone young trade swanson

sea8491
sea8491

Do not trade any pitchers or any pitcher prospects.  Sign a free agent pitcher in the off season, braves management need to anty up.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@sea8491 Who do you want Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, ($80 to 110 Million Range) and then the FA for teams on a budget(Liberty Braves) Johnny Cueto, Masahiro Tanaka, Ian kennedy, Chris Tillman, Marco Estrada, John Lackey, Alex Cobb, CC Sabathia, Jeremy Hellickson, Francisco Liriano,Clay Buchholz,and Tyson Ross? Any of these other than Arrieta and Darvish better or less expensive than Sonny Gray?

James B 2324
James B 2324

@Buschleaguer @sea8491 If the trade involves Acuna or Albies then yes all of those pitchers sound less expensive.


We have a whole farm of pitching.  We have few hitters in the farm system worth getting excited about.

David McCallum
David McCallum

@sea8491 I agree with this opinion. I know it's hard for fans to stomach all of this, and I can't blame them, but this team is not that far from being serious again. I believe that. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@David McCallum @James B 2324 @Buschleaguer @sea8491 the Teixeira trade was made by a team looking for the last piece to make a run in the playoffs. A trade for Gray would be one to try and put a halfway decent starting rotation together for 2018.Braves have prospects other than Acuna and Albies. A package of one of the Braves plethora of pitching prospects , Matt Wisler, Rio Ruiz, Travis Demeritte and Dustin Peterson may be enough to get Gray and Chapman from the A's.

E983
E983

Sonny Gray would be great for this team but not for that price. Great article Mark.

David McCallum
David McCallum

@E983 Knowing the A's they'll get desperate to unload this guy, but not fore Acuna or Albies. 

MichaelDavis1951
MichaelDavis1951

Mark good job of getting rid of the advertising.   Got a new one.  Right below this I imagine.  


Didn't say it earlier, good article.  

DAWGnGA
DAWGnGA

The sooner they trade Markakis the better. Why is he hitting 5th? 7Th maybe. He is in a 1 for 19 slump and you hit him in front of Adams?

Anyway his bat isn't much and his 10 million salary is too much. Get something anything for him, get rid of the salary and open up a spot.

Next year with Ender and Acuna covering 75% of the outfield, Kemp becomes more valuable. Their speed can eat up ground.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@DAWGnGA If you had Ender & Acuna playing OF, Matt Adams(power guy) could even play LF? Matt has a friendly contract and I would not just give him away!

DAWGnGA
DAWGnGA

I wouldn't trade Adams either. Too many possibilities with him. I like our offense right now. Resign Suzuki, use Camargo at as (great arm) Rodriguez or Albies at 2b, Acuna, Ender and Kemp ( no one going to take his contract) in the OF.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

If the A's want a CF ,how about Inciarte? Gray , 3B Matt Chapman and OF Greg Deichmann for Ender and Rio Ruiz.  Braves keep all of their top prospects get Gray to add to the pitching rotation, a starting 3B Chapman the A's #3 prospect and a top OF prospect Deichmann.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Maybe throw in Matt Wisler if it would help precipitate this trade.

Mattster08
Mattster08

@Buschleaguer Trading Ender for Sonny Gray would be almost as bad as trading Acuna.  Not gonna happen.  You don't trade a speedy Gold Glove CF who hits .300 in the leadoff spot for a guy like Gray.  

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@Mattster08 @Buschleaguer Not just receiving Gray, you get a need a starting 3B with power and a decent OF prospect LSU's Deichmann who may be ready as soon as the 2nd half of 2019 to take a starting spot in the Braves outfield.It is all about bridging the gap until Soroka, Anderson and Wright are ready to join the Braves rotation in 2019. Not saying that giving up Inciarte is going to happen, but the Braves need starting pitching and Gray could provide some depth in what has been the Braves biggest weakness this year the pitching rotation.

DAWGnGA
DAWGnGA

Why would you trade a good glove .300 leadoff guy? He can also play rf when they FINALLY RID themselves of Markakis.

Gray has POTENTIAL to be a #1 AND. To be on the DL.

Ender will play 156-160 games.

He, Freeman and Acuna should be the only close to untouchables on this team. It would take more than Sonny to get Ender. I just don't get the fascination with him

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DAWGnGA so does every #1 starting pitcher in the MLB, Strasburg DL, Kershaw DL, Bumgarner just off DL, although Gray will not cost as much as the above pitchers. I am not saying Gray for Ender straight up, did you not bother to read my first post. 

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@Buschleaguer


Horrible idea! You DONT trade an All-Star everyday player for an injury prone pitcher who works once every 5 days IF he stays healthy. Dont get fleeced! 

DAWGnGA
DAWGnGA

The difference is, he usually finds the DL and isn't that great. I just don't see the dominating #1 in him to LEAD a staff. I think he is a top #2.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DAWGnGA Do the Braves currently even have a #3 MLB starter on the Staff? Foltynewicz is improving ,but would he be a #1 or #2 on a contender. Gray was shut down last year , admittedly a down year, but he did not miss a start in 2014 or 2015 and will make 25 or more starts this year.He will be 28 next year and will be controllable until after the 2019 season. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@AnsweredTHIS @Buschleaguer You also would get a starting 3b with power Chapman and an OF prospect Deichmann. I would not make the trade unless the A's included these two pieces. Acuna would be the CF of the future and Albies is supposed to be batting leadoff for the Braves in 2018 and beyond.

DAWGnGA
DAWGnGA

I agree the Braves need pitching. I agree Folty is at best a #3. At this moment Folty is all they have. The pitching is horrible for a pennant race. That being said, the offense is what carries this team. I don't take out my catalyst to weaken my offense. My gold glove cfer that everyone wants. If I replace anyone at this time, it would be Markakis (Kemp contract is not moveable).

I would like to have Gray but not to subtract my CFer. He will not improve us enough to make up for the subtraction of a top everyday player. No way those 2 are traded straight up from,either team prosective. And neither would include more for the other. Braves will have money for a free agent this off season. Colon 12mil, Garcia 8mil, trade Markakis 10.1mil. Go get a #1 and keep your gold glove leadoff CFer.

We will have to agree to disagree here.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DAWGnGA the offense has carried them all the way to 3 games under .500 and 12 games behind the Nats and 8.5 games behind the Rockies for the 2nd wildcard.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@Buschleaguer @AnsweredTHIS


Dont make this trade.  You then sit Adams on the bench because you would expect this 3rd base player to play. Nope. I think someone up top said it is time for the front office to   go after someone in the off season. We are two years ahead of schedule because of the position players, not because of the pitching. You expect that at some point all of this pitching you have stockpiled in the minors to make a step forward and be ready to compete for a starting spot. I like this team (and I hope Management does as well) as it is constructed with everyday players. Guys that can hit and run with a few boppers in the lineup.  We still have incredible position players in the minors who are itching to get to the majors. Be patient, wait for a vet and go after him, but not by continuing to trade prospects.  IMHO.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@AnsweredTHIS @Buschleaguer Why not move Adams while he has a high trade value, the braves bullpen is almost as horrid as their starting rotation. Adams could be traded for some help for the bullpen and another top prospect.I am not mentioning trading any prospects, it is the Braves top two prospects that make this trade feasible. Acuna replaces Inciarte in CF and Albies bats leadoff. You still have Swanson if he ever figures out how to hit a MLB slider.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DAWGnGA I did not say that Gray and Inciarte would be a one for one trade. Did you read my original post, Inciarte, Rio Ruiz, and Matt wisler for Gray, 3B Matt Chapman, and OF prospect Greg Deichmann.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@DAWGnGA People dig on Markakis every year, but other than Greg Maddux ,name one Free Agent the Braves have signed that has performed as well as Markakis. His OPS even with the low amount of HR's he has is higher than the 20 Million dollar a year OF Jason Heyward.

I_was_there_for_715
I_was_there_for_715

@Buschleaguer Why would the A's trade away more than just Gray to the Braves when other teams are willing to take ONLY Gray in exchange for several prospects?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@I_was_there_for_715 @Buschleaguer The media reports say the A's want a CF in return for Gray, hence the Acuna column by Bradley. My suggestion is why not trade Inciarte to the A's if a CF is what the asking price is for Gray. The real question is who will be playing CF in  Atlanta in 2019 ,Acuna or Inciarte?

TallyFan70
TallyFan70

@Buschleaguer @Mattster08 Matt Chapman looks like one of those "homerun or nothing" guys.  Doesn't hit for average.  Strikes out a lot.  No thanks. 

Brando21
Brando21

@TomGaff @Buschleaguer the word accomplished doesn't mean what you think it means. What Ender has accomplished is a gold glove and an all star appearance. One of each. We will most certainly have a CF that accomplished, again. If you mean a CF as skilled, or talented, then maybe, but still hyperbolic AF.

I_was_there_for_715
I_was_there_for_715

@Buschleaguer um, that doesn't make sense.  EVERY single MLB has enough in their minor system to acquire Gray.  The issue is how much each MLB team is willing to GIVE UP.


If the A's can retain ALL of their prospects and obtain MORE prospects by giving up ONLY Gray, why wouldn't they?


Your response will be is that YOU have created this fantastic trade and because you think it is fantastic, then, the Braves and A's should do it.  Unless you can show us a resume and/or job history to indicate that you have made numerous successful trades in the professional sports leagues, you are just some other dude on the internet like me.  Solid belief in your own ideas don't make them fantastic and/or what other more qualified people should do.