Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic recently wrote about what he is hearing on the hot stove early on in what has been an incredibly slow start to the offseason. As I talked about today, the Braves have checked in with the Athletics regarding catcher Sean Murphy, who is drawing interest from a number of teams and is likely to be moved this offseason. I doubt the Braves actually pull the trigger on such a deal, given they already have Travis d’Arnaud, William Contreras, and Manny Piña on the roster, but this is an example of Alex Anthopoulos exploring all of his options this offseason, even the unconventional ones.
However, Rosenthal also mentioned two other Braves players in his piece, one of them being a catcher, Manny Piña. He says he is the most likely of Atlanta’s three backstops to be moved before the start of the season, and teams are showing interest.
The chances of the Braves acquiring Murphy or completing any of the other moves mentioned above are slim. If they do anything involving a catcher, it likely will be a trade of Piña, in whom they are drawing interest. With Murphy, they’re simply investigating the possibility, and seeing what might happen.
Given the Braves’ situation and market for catchers this offseason, I would be shocked if Piña wasn’t moved this offseason. He’s a luxury for Atlanta at this point, and the Braves could save $4.5 million this season by moving him, money they desperately need to address their other needs.
The other player Rosenthal mentioned the Braves are attempting to trade, unsurprisingly, is Marcell Ozuna. However, that feels highly improbable at this point. He’s owed $16 million over the next two seasons and has produced at a below-replacement level in each of the last two seasons. Beyond that, he comes with a load of baggage off the field stemming from two separate incidents — a domestic violence dispute and DUI.
“Let’s be clear — anybody who is taking on the contract of Marcell Ozuna will almost certainly release him once the trade is complete. He brings no value to the table, on or off the field. So in a trade, the Braves will be asking teams to eat $33 million in salary, unless Atlanta agrees to eat some of the salary themselves to make the deal more palatable, which is a more realistic possibility. Still, to clear a significant amount of the money off the books, it is going to take some pretty good prospects, and I’m not sure that’s something the Braves will be eager to do, given their farm system is already barren.”
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