Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna and infielder Ozzie Albies get in some work during spring training in February. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Acuna on Albies’ contract: ‘I think I’m even happier than he is’

As pleased as he was, Ozzie Albies might not have been the happiest person in the Braves’ clubhouse about the second baseman’s new contract. 

“I think I’m even happier (about it) than he is,” outfielder Ronald Acuna said through an interpreter late Thursday night. “… It makes me extremely happy to know we’re going to be together for a long time.” 

> RELATED: Full details of Albies’ contract

Word of Albies’ seven-year, $35 million deal came nine days after the announcement of his best friend Acuna’s eight-year, $100 million contract. Both deals include two additional team-option years that, if exercised, could stretch Acuna’s contract through the 2028 season and Albies’ through 2027. Both are widely considered to be team-friendly deals.

The Braves approached Albies immediately after completing the Acuna contract. Knowing Acuna would be on the team for a long time contributed to Albies’ desire to commit. 

“We’re more than best friends. We’re brothers to each other. I love him,” Albies said. “It wasn’t just because of him because I love everybody on the team. I love being where I am. I love being part of the Braves. I want to be a Brave for the rest of my life.” 

Albies and Acuna clearly enjoy being teammates, clearly enjoy playing the game together. 

“We watched them in Denver the other day, just having fun, enjoying each other, enjoying their teammates, enjoying playing the game,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s just so refreshing, and they’re so talented. I think it’s just a really neat thing for both of them.”

Albies made the National League All-Star team last season, hitting .281 with 20 home runs, 29 doubles and an .834 OPS before the All-Star break. He hit only .226 with four homers, 11 doubles  and a .624 OPS after the break. For the season, the switch-hitting Albies finished with a .261 batting average (.231 as a left-handed hitter and .333 right-handed). 

After going 0-for-5 on Thursday night, Albies is hitting .327 through 12 games this season (about the same from both sides of the plate) with one homer, three doubles and two RBI.

> MORE: Braves lose to Mets despite Acuna’s 462-foot home run into concourse

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