The Braves won’t be the most active team this offseason, but there are several positions they have to figure out. Shortstop is the one everyone will be keeping an eye on, but Atlanta also has to address left field. They can’t go into next season relying on Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario. My guess is Alex Anthopoulos will attempt to trade one of them, if not both. Rosario and the $9 million left on his contract will be much easier than Ozuna and the $37 million left on his deal, which Jim Bowden of The Athletic commented on in a recent article.
The Braves owe Ozuna $37 million over the next two years, when he’ll be playing at 32 and 33 years old and coming off the past two years with a .280 on-base percentage, along with his off-the-field issues, including a 20-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy and being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. I’m not sure the Braves would find a trade partner unless they attach a legitimate prospect to Ozuna and pay down most of his future salary. My guess is he’ll be released before his contract expires.
I’ve talked about this topic several times, and I agree wholeheartedly with Bowden. The Braves aren’t going to be able to trade Ozuna unless they eat most of the money left on his contract or take on another abysmal contract in return.
Earlier this offseason, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported that the Braves attempted to trade Ozuna to the Nationals at the trade deadline for Patrick Corbin, which is another one of the worst contracts in baseball. The details of the trade were not revealed, but Washington balked at the offer, which tells you all you need to know about how difficult it will be to move Ozuna.
Given his porous play and off-the-field issues, there’s just not much Anthopoulos will be able to do about Ozuna. I don’t think there’s a trade out there, and like Bowden, I think it’s likely the Braves end up releasing him. It’s an unfortunate blow, but the Ozuna deal has become a disaster for Atlanta. There aren’t many teams, if any, that will even consider making a trade with the Braves for him.
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