What should the Braves do with Marcell Ozuna?

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For obvious reasons, Marcell Ozuna is the most polarizing figure on the Braves. After his domestic violence dispute, many fans never wanted him to don a tomahawk across his chest ever again. A completely understandable feeling; however, for several reasons — primarily contractual — I always thought that was a long shot. Nobody was going to trade for him this past offseason, and the Braves weren’t just going to eat $50 million. Alex Anthopoulos was really only left with one option: slot Ozuna into the lineup, pray he plays like he did in 2020, and hope for all the extracurricular noise to dissipate.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. After a scorching hot start for Ozuna, he’s been almost unplayable over his last 22 games, hitting just .157 with a .473 OPS. It also doesn’t help that his defense in left field is atrocious. On the season, Ozuna has now accumulated -0.4 bWAR, and I would love to sit here and say I have an answer for the question posed in the article title, but the Braves are in a tough spot.

When it comes to trading Ozuna or designating him for assignment, the answer is still a resounding no. First and foremost, nobody is in the market for a 31-year-old declining outfielder with off the field baggage that’s owed nearly $50 million over the next three years. Secondly, patience is a virtue, my friends. The Braves aren’t just going to designate Ozuna for assignment because he’s been ice cold for 20+ games. If they operated like that, they wouldn’t be in the business of winning championships.

The only thing the Braves can really do is try and mix things up with the lineup. It goes without saying, but I would have Ozuna in the field as little as possible. He should be a permanent designated hitter once Acuña is cleared to play in the field every day. Perhaps moving Ozuna out of the cleanup spot would relieve him of some pressure, but to be honest, very few players on this Braves team are hitting. I’m not sure if the dead balls have something to do with it, or these guys are just struggling, but it’s been a dreadful start for most of the Braves offense. The good thing is many of these players have a lengthy track record of success, so the best thing to do may just be hunker down and hope to see a light at the end of the tunnel. There aren’t many good options for Brian Snitker to turn to right now.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire




1 thought on “What should the Braves do with Marcell Ozuna?”

  1. This is the dumbest article I can remember reading. First you ask what should be done with Marcel and then say well a lot of the team is off to a slow start. Which is it?

    Marcel has proven to be a good hitter. His defense is suspect I agree but im sure AA did not sign him for defense.

    Put him at DH. Alternate lineup positions and an occasional day off. He, like all the other other Braves will be just fine.

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