Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. joins controversial agency on same day of explosive lawsuit

Atlanta's star outfielder has joined an agency currently shrouded in controversy.
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. is undoubtedly a highly sought-after talent. There aren't many players with as many tools as the Atlanta outfielder.

The opportunity to represent a generational talent doesn't come around often and any agency would be lucky to have Acuña on their roster. It turns out that the agency started by artist Bad Bunny has taken on the Venezuelan star as a client.

Rimas Sports was founded in 2021 to represent Latin players and currently boasts 68 clients, including 14 major leaguers. Acuña is just the latest addition to this growing roster.

However, a little over a month ago, the MLBPA decertified Rimas agent William Arroyo and prevented two other Rimas executives, Noah Assad and Jonathan Miranda, from seeking certification after accusing the agency of providing improper benefits to players.

The agency filed a lawsuit against the Major League Baseball Players Association, accusing them of "placing a death penalty" on them through "a discriminatory, biased, and pre-determined investigation" into Rimas' business practices on Thursday.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported on the news and shared details from the lawsuit, which stated, "the MLBPA has effectively placed a death-penalty sanction on Rimas Sports as an agency and prohibited Rimas Entertainment, which is not in the sports agency business and has never had a MLBPA Certified Agent, from contracting with clients who may wish to secure branding, sponsorship or endorsement deals. These restrictions extend well beyond the scope of the MLBPA's authority to regulate its agents."

Essentially, this suit alleges the MLBPA has been conspiring behind the scenes to "eliminate Rimas Sports from the sports agency market." MLB communicated with teams on April 28 that due to Rimas’ decertification, clubs shouldn't speak with Rimas and should instead contact players directly, according to a document submitted with the lawsuit.

The MLBPA declined to comment through a spokesperson for the organization.

Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. joins controversial agency on same day of explosive lawsuit

It was thought Ronald Acuña Jr. had signed with the agency in April, but that did not happen until the lawsuit was revealed Thursday. However, the union stated that the Atlanta star had no listed agent and that Rimas would not need certification to negotiate a player’s marketing agreements.

Acuña would be one of the biggest clients for the organization and you could understand why they may be a little upset with the option to sign that caliber of player being allegedly tampered with.

One of the accusations in the lawsuit alleges that the MLBPA's penalties hindered the agency's "opportunity to sign reigning National League MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. as a client." Passan reports the top-rated baseball card company, Topps, which is owned by Fanatics, "notified Rimas Sports that because of the MLBPA's prohibitions that they cannot speak with Rimas Sports marketing, endorsement, and sponsorship deals, such as one for Ronald Acuña," according to the complaint.

This is not a welcome distraction for Acuña who has been struggling a bit to get things going this season. He hasn't been the same player that won the NL MVP with relative ease in 2023. Now, we don't know if this has any bearing on his performance whatsoever, but it does make you wonder if outside distractions like this may be affecting him.

Acuña is currently batting .245 with 38 hits, including six doubles, three home runs, 11 RBI, and 14 stolen bases. That is not what Braves fans have come to expect from their talented right fielder.

Manager Brian Snitker rested the MLB superstar during Wednesday's game with the Cubs, which effectively gave the slugger a couple of days off with the team's next game coming on Friday. Hopefully, this helped him take some time to get his mind right and back to the player he and fans know he can be.

It remains to be seen what impact this will have on Ronald Acuña Jr. outside of playing baseball, but the legal process will play itself out in the meantime.

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