Brent Rooker

Morosi believes Braves could target A's Rooker as Acuña replacement

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The Atlanta Braves are in familiar territory after losing outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. to the second season-ending ACL tear of his seven-year MLB career.

Now without the reigning 2023 NL MVP, the 30-21 Braves might have interest in the Athletics’ lone AL All-Star from last season.

On Tuesday, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi cited Oakland outfielder/designated hitter Brent Rooker as a potential replacement for Acuña Jr.

“Here are a few names of guys they may look at later on: Brent Rooker, Tommy Pham, Taylor Ward,” Morosi said. “These are all players I expect will be available to varying degrees as we move toward the trade deadline -- which is now basically two months away.”

Rooker is having a productive 2024 MLB season for the 22-33 A’s, slashing .286/.368/.565 with 44 hits, 11 home runs and 34 RBI over 42 games. He had 30 home runs and 69 RBI a year ago. 

The 29-year-old only is due $750,000 this season, per Spotrac, and at least would be a person of interest should Atlanta call Oakland.

Still, Morosi is adamant no one can replace Acuña Jr. after his previous campaign. Notably, the right-handed batter was slashing .250/.351/.365 with 48 hits and 15 RBI before his current season ended.

“There is no way to replace Ronald Acuña Jr. with one player or perhaps even two players because it’s just not the right field piece of it, it’s the lead-off piece [and] the 40-homers-70-stolen-bases piece from a year ago,” Morosi emphasized.

Atlanta, of course, is not thrilled to endure another Acuña Jr.-less run. But when losing the four-time NL All-Star in 2021, the Braves did respond by winning the World Series.

Morosi concluded by saying Atlanta will look to internal options to replace their star 26-year-old franchise cornerstone but made it clear the Braves are exploring all avenues.

“So, the point I want to make globally here is the Braves lost Acuña in 2021 right before the [2021] MLB All-Star Game, they acquired four outfielders within the next two weeks and they won the World Series,” Morosi concluded. “While I’m told for now they’re going to stay internal, I would expect at some point in time, an outfielder will arrive to Atlanta, Georgia.”

Keep an eye on Rooker and the Braves as the July 30 MLB Trade Deadline nears.

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