Braves News: Ronald Acuna Jr. to play for Venezuela in World Baseball Classic
While Ronald Acuna Jr. has been deferential to the Atlanta Braves' desire to not have him play in the World Baseball Classic in public, it has been clear for a while that Ronnie has really wanted to play in the WBC for Venezuela. The Braves' concerns are understandable given just how important Ronnie is to the roster, but it hasn't felt great that the WBC schedule means that the Braves' word is essentially final.
However, not dissimilar to the compromise that the Braves made with Ronnie that ultimately allowed him to play winter ball in Venezuela, it appears as though that Ronnie has indeed gotten permission from the Braves to play for Venezuela is this year's World Baseball Classic.
It is fair to have some concerns about Ronnie playing in really any non-MLB games. He is coming off a season where he had to rehab a very serious knee injury quickly and clearly did not appear to be his normal self upon his return. Ronnie's health is important to the Braves and him getting hurt or having a setback away from the team would not be great.
However, the World Baseball Classic does have a relationship with MLB and has the stated goal of trying to grow the game globally and encourage national teams by giving those players exposure. At the end of the day, Ronnie's desire to play in the WBC for his country is admirable and will certainly get some more eyes (including Braves fans) on the event.
Fortunately, the Braves and Ronnie were able to come to some sort of an agreement and let Acuna play in the event. The ideal outcome here is that Ronnie performs well for Venezuela and carries that performance into the regular season without getting hurt. There is going to be risk anytime Ronnie (or any player) takes the field, including in spring training, but this does seem to be an overall positive not only for the Braves' relationship with Ronnie, but for baseball as a whole