If possible, this is how the Braves should handle the Marcell Ozuna situation

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Our very own Jake Gordon broke the news yesterday regarding Marcell Ozuna. He’s pleaded guilty to a deal that will terminate his charges after six months. Ozuna will be forced to complete a 24-week family violence intervention program, along with 200 hours of community service and anger management classes. If he completes these tasks early, his supervision could be finished after just three months.

Legally, this messy situation looks to be resolved. However, Ozuna is still subject to discipline from the MLB, and we’ll have to wait and see what the league does on that front. A lot of it could be determined by whether the video footage from the police is ever released publicly. If it is, this could get even messier, but regardless, I expect the league to hand Ozuna a pretty hefty suspension — between 60-81 games.

With that in mind, Ozuna should be eligible to return well before next year’s All-Star break, and as we’ve discussed in the past, there’s really no way for the Braves to get out from under his contract. Unless something drastic happens, Ozuna will play in the MLB again, which leads to the question — what is the best course of action for the organization?

There are three options for the Braves: release him, keep him and play him when his suspension ends, or trade him.

I don’t find the first one very realistic. I just can’t imagine the Braves biting the bullet on the remaining three years of his contract, which is worth over $50 million, especially if no further details emerge. The second option is certainly a possibility. It might perturb a portion of Braves country, and I’m sure it’s a headache the front office wants to avoid, but as we’ve learned from the past, time heals all. If Ozuna comes out and makes a public apology while completing all of the duties asked of him in his plea agreement, the majority of the fan base will forgive him, and this will all be forgotten. However, that’s still not the path I would choose if I were the Braves.

We’ll see how the rest of Ozuna’s situation shakes out, but if this is it, I imagine he will have a market via trade. It won’t be a ton of teams, but it should be enough for the Braves to get out from under this altogether, which is the ultimate goal. The Braves might have to include a prospect or eat a portion of the money, but that would be well worth it if they could end this debacle with one swift move.

Another reason trading him makes the most sense is that the Braves don’t really need him. Ronald Acuña will be back next season, Cristian Pache and Drew Waters are still waiting in the wings, and Alex Anthopoulos added four highly productive outfielders at the trade deadline. Adam Duvall has already proven he can produce at a similar clip to Ozuna at a fraction of the price, and the Braves could also choose to hang onto Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler or Eddie Rosario.

All things considered, trading Ozuna makes the most sense. It may not be possible, but there’s probably a deal out there that could alleviate the Braves of most of his contract. If they can find that, I expect them to pull the trigger quickly.

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