The Marcell Ozuna News Changes the Offseason

The Braves got good news from a player’s perspective and absolutely horrible news from a PR/humane perspective:

Come Spring Training, unless something changes between now and then, Marcell Ozuna will be in a Braves uniform and the taint of a domestic abuser will be on the Braves AND all of the pens of baseball reporters will be quick to the ink to chastise the Braves once again as this will be their 4th domestic violence case in the last 25 years. I’m not going to get into my personal opinion about this matter, rather I’ll look at this from a personnel perspective. With Ozuna in tow, the Braves have an interesting situation ahead of them when the lockout concludes. Let’s take a look at the OF/DH situation and play at GM to see what could work.

As of now the Braves likely have Ronald Acuña Jr., Adam Duvall, and Marcell Ozuna penciled in the OF/DH roles. It’s been speculated that Acuña could be back by opening day, but a better guess would be May. Cristian Pache and/or Guillermo Heredia could fill a spot until Acuña is ready and that provides some level of comfort. However, that puts a real strain on the offense that still lack a proven CFer, unless you count Adam Duvall (I would). My guess is the Braves would like to utilize Duvall as a corner OF, but could be forced to put him in CF should the personnel not come together the way they’d like.

The Return of Jorge Soler?

I think I can speak for all Braves fans, but Soler was absolutely brilliant in a Braves uniform. And while his defense has been under scrutiny since his MLB debut, he seemed perfectly acceptable in the OF for the Braves, especially at home when the RF plays much small in comparison to other right fields across the league.

But we cannot ignore the elephant in the room. Ozuna is THAT elephant. Simply put, if Ozuna is here, I cannot imagine the Braves can carry another RH bat first OFer. If the Braves utilize a trade to get rid of Ozuna (or just release him) then that could open an avenue for Soler. Until then, we’ll just assume Soler is a Noler.

The Return of Eddie Rosario?

The Braves definitely need another LHH in the lineup and Eddie Rosario is a darn good one. However, if the Braves were to sign Eddie, then that likely means they’re sticking Duvall in CF, which isn’t altogether a bad idea. People tend to forget a few things about Duvall and the first thing on that list is that the dude is actually quite fast. While he doesn’t steal a lot of bases, he ranks in the 86th percentile for sprint speed. Also, he’s quite rangy, finishing in the 70th percentile in jumps and the 82nd percentile in Outs Above Average. Those numbers didn’t really change when planted in captain’s chair, so yes, this is my official endorsement that Adam Duvall would be a perfectly capable CFer for the 2022 Braves.

And if that’s the case, Eddie Rosario fits in quite nicely. The Braves can utilize Eddie as their everyday LFer while giving Ozuna the DH ABs. Adding Rosario to Freddie Freeman (yes, I’m still going to assume he’s a Brave lifer) gives the Braves a formidable lineup against any pitcher, no matter the hand he utilizes to throw a ball.

Other Free Agent Outfielders that could fit the role Rosario would fill:

Imagining a Lineup

  1. Ronald Acuña
  2. Ozzie Albies
  3. Freddie Freeman
  4. Austin Riley
  5. Eddie Rosario
  6. Marcell Ozuna
  7. Adam Duvall
  8. Travis d’Arnaud
  9. Dansby Swanson

Final Thoughts

I still believe the Braves could finally make that big trade, and if they do, I’d imagine that it would be for an everyday CFer so Duvall and Acuña can really shine in the corners. If that’s the case, the Braves could very well have the best defensive OF since the days of Martin Prado, Michael Bourn, and Jason Heyward.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

34 thoughts on “The Marcell Ozuna News Changes the Offseason”

  1. If they can’t trade Ozuna they need to release him. I don’t want that garbage wearing the “A” next year.

    I think the trade depends on what happens with Freddie. A trade for Olson is a must if they can’t get a reasonable deal done.

    Lineup:
    Acuña-rf
    Albies-2b
    Olson-1b
    Riley-3b
    Soler-dh
    Duvall-cf
    Rosario-lf
    Swanson-ss

    Losing a 30M/year salary gives you the ability to sign Soler & Rosario. Unfortunately they probably still can’t afford it because of the Ozuna dead money…..unless they can offload some of it.

  2. I completely agree that Ozuna needs to go. Keeping him around is just a signal that DV is tolerable if you are a) good enough, or b) expensive enough. Even bringing him to Spring Training and trying to let him rebuild some of his value so you don’t have to eat so much on a trade is broadcasting the message that maximizing payroll value is more important than sending a strong message about player behavior.

    (Ironically, it probably would have worked out better for the Braves if he had been playing well. Then you could have pitched him to an immoral team like the Dodgers or Rays as the steal of the century. Instead they’ll have to eat it.)

    It’s a sunk cost. Don’t go into the season making your players defend him, your media cleaning him up, and your fans complicit in his “redemption arc.” Saving a few million or getting a slightly better prospect isn’t worth it. Do the right thing. Release him, or pull an Oliviera, trade him for another team’s albatross, and let them do it.

  3. Would be nice to acquire a guy like ced Mullins for CF. It would require a load but would be worth it for his years of control. Michael Harris will be in AA next year with an eye on MLB prob late 2023. Ozuna is the elephant in the room. Liberty can afford to release him but they won’t. I’ve always wanted someone like Brad miller who has really good career numbers against righties and shouldn’t play against lefties. He would be a nice bench addition/fill in if someone gets hurt.

  4. Thanks, Ryan. Who are the team’s other three cases of DV in the last 25 years? Bobby I remember, though I thought it was longer ago, and I guess Oliveira is another. Was Andruw the fourth? Or was Furcal involved in something like that, or am I just thinking of his DUI?

  5. The late Julio Lugo was accused of abuse, though I don’t know if he committed abuses while he was on the Braves.

  6. As to those of you who want to release Ozuna, are you o.k. with owners locking down that a list of improper off field behaviors (to include domestic violence, maybe a few others) are grounds to terminate a contract? Will you scandalize the MLBPA if they don’t agree to such? I am genuinely curious how people feel on this.

    We now have a negotiation. And, if the owners insist on a right to release, then the players will want something back. Would you perceive that the MLBPA would then be getting economic benefit to its non DV’ers?

  7. I thought Bobby’s DV case was in 1997, but I’ll take credit that I was forward thinking enough to think of Julio Lugo.

  8. They’re not going to terminate Ozuna’s contract. They’ll have to pay it. And I am fine with that. Teams should not be encouraged to sign sketchy players on the grounds that their contracts will be voided if they screw up, so no risk on their end. (See: Trevor Bauer.)

    (However, I will be very curious as to Trevor Bauer’s punishment. If Manfred decrees, after cowardly stating that Ozuna paid his debt to society while rehabbing an injury, that Bauer needs to be banned from baseball, or serve a multi-year suspension or whatever, conveniently allowing the Dodgers to duck out of paying his contract… well, I will give that a serious side-eye.)

  9. I disagree with your assessment of calling Ozuna trash. Have you ever been in a domestic situation? I doubt you have. There was an incident. The best I can tell from what has come out after the night in question, he did Not hit her which is big in my opinion. I am not a big fan of Ozuna and there are other players I would rather keep, but don’t call him a piece of trash just for a domestic dispute which this is what it was. By the way, I have been in his shoes with a domestic dispute. It does not go down as advertised.

  10. First, thanks to all for the entertaining and informative discussions. I’ve both judged and been judged over the years from less than an omniscient perspective and try daily to avoid both sides of that coin.

    Dr. Adrian Rogers often said it’s a thin pancake that doesn’t have two sides. I have sins of my own to fret about and no time to toss rocks at those whom, rightly or wrongly, the press vilifies.

    That said, I hate the thought of no baseball in 2022 but am becoming increasingly fearful that may be the case. I find solace in knowing my beloved Braves won the last game they played. That fire still warms my soul.

    Thank you all again.

  11. Amen to that. I think we’ll get baseball back, but the long cold winter of the offseason is even more frigid than usual.

  12. Whatever they do, I’m pulling for the players. For years, we’re told by owners that the “greedy” players’ salaries is the reason that going to games isn’t affordable. However, even if they were to field a team for the league minimum, do you think they would pass that savings along to the fans in the form of lower ticket prices or concessions? No. It’s all performative. Like Terry McGuirk once said, “It costs a lot to build this edifice.”

  13. Manfred’s continued employment is contingent on the outcome of the CBA negotiations, not the stumbling block to them proceeding. If the owners get what they want, they’ll keep him. If not, they’ll get rid of him.

    Given that they’re not even going to discuss “core economics” until January, I think we’re looking at late January at the earliest, with a pretty fair chance of it cutting into ST games.

  14. I’m a longtime lurker. I may have used other names in the past; I can’t remember. The last time I remember posting with any regularity, John Coppolella was still the GM and we were still wondering if Jace Peterson and Rio Ruiz were long-term pieces.

    I took a long mental health break from posting on the internet. (Not just here, but everywhere.) Not really sure why I suddenly felt the urge to start shouting into the void again, but I’ll keep it up until such point as I feel fed up by it.

  15. A few things I think I think…

    1) I wouldn’t just release Ozuna. I get the PR hit, but you don’t just eat his contract. From a business standpoint, you have to get something for him. I think not having the suspension actually helps his trade value. If you can’t get a warm body for him, then you keep him.

    2) They ain’t firing Manfred.

  16. @16–al though I tend to be hopeful about my team’s prospects on the field, I’m pretty pessimistic about this CBA negotiation. I fear a lockout may cost us a fair amount of the regular season.

  17. @22 For better or worse, you’re not shouting into a void on Braves Journal, so that probably explains it. There are actual conversations with actual humans on here, which I like.

    @23

    Agreed. No way Manfred is going anywhere. That may not be a good thing, but it’s the reality.

    How about Tennessee stealing BC’s from FSU? Tennessee is getting their recruiting back to where they have been.

  18. There is virtually no chance this gets resolved until 2022 regular season games start to get thrown into the balance. Which means that there likely is zero chance this gets resolved before late February. Nobody actually cares about spring training games and if half of them get canceled, c’est la vie.

    It would be nice if the two sides were actually talking now so that they didn’t have a month to get everything done before it started threatening a portion of the season, but it looks like they’re going that latter route.

    I agree that Manfred isn’t getting fired…at least not before this is resolved.

    I think we’ll have to wait and see how the sides handle the prospect of losing games before we can project the likelihood of games actually being lost.

  19. Is Charlie Culberson the best position player pitcher in baseball? Not counting Shohei or Lorenzen.

  20. Did Drew Butera retire?

    That said, I bet that if Andrelton ever got back on the bump, he would be the answer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.