The Atlanta Braves have plenty of decisions to make at the trade deadline. But as we enter late June, two players have played their way off the block, while others have more work to do.
The Braves are in first place in the NL East by a decent margin, and as of this writing, don’t have much to worry about in terms of securing a postseason spot. If anything, that was the bare minimum expectation of this team by Alex Anthopoulos and the front office entering spring training.
Now that we know what the final product of this team should look like — frankly, they are one or two pieces away from being the clear NL favorite — there’s little excuse for Anthopoulos and Co. not to add at the trade deadline.
Adding players is easier said than done, though. Trades for well-established MLB players typically require assets, something Atlanta doesn’t have much of that they’d be willing to deal away. After respective deals for Matt Olson and Sean Murphy in back-to-back offseasons, the Braves cupboard is a little bare.
With that in mind, who will (and won’t) Anthopoulos consider parting ways with at this deadline?
Braves off the trade block: Marcell Ozuna
Yes, I am the same writer who suggested the Braves trade Ozuna a few months ago. Heck, we all wanted him off the roster. Ozuna has off-field issues, and if he’s not hitting the cover off the ball, then what’s the point of employing him at all?
Yet, Anthopoulos and Brian Snitker always had patience with Ozuna. Sure, they issued a few warning shots, but by no means were they about to part ways with the power potential of Ozuna. He can change the game in one at-bat, and has done so several times this season already.
Ozuna’s batting average is up to .241 — a far cry from his early-season mark below the Mendoza line. He offers a strong on-base and slugging percentage, to boot, and has 13 home runs on the season.
Given his contract, Ozuna is here to stay, and will likely be a big part of the Braves next postseason run, for better or worse.