1. Marcell Ozuna
Marcell Ozuna is under team control for another two seasons in Atlanta. At first blush, it seems strange to project a trade after his best MLB season to date. Ozuna was integral to the middle of the Braves' lineup, slashing .274/.346/.558 with 40 home runs and 100 RBIs in 530 at-bats. There weren't many better sluggers in the National League.
That said, Ozuna has been a problem off the field during his Braves tenure. He was also on the downswing, rather infamously, before a midseason turnaround in 2023. He hit .226 last season and .213 the year before. It stands to reason that this season was more of an aberation than a revival. A smart betting man would project a pronounced step back for Ozuna in 2024.
That being said, the Braves should aim to sell high. Ozuna is the perfect DH — a hard-swinger with major RBI potential every time he steps to the plate — but the Braves need to move the lineup around to figure out the left field issue. Plus, there's the Vaughn Grissom piece to the puzzle. Grissom has been a dominant presence in the minors, but his struggles in the field have kept him out of the Braves' lineup. If the DH slot opens up, Grissom has a chance to stick around in Atlanta.
So, do not expect Ozuna back next season. It has been a mostly productive, if often inconsistent four-year stretch for the veteran, but he may have played his way off the roster with such a strong bounce-back campaign. There's a team out there who will talk themselves into the Ozuna reclamation, and that team will probably end up disappointed when Ozuna is batting .200 halfway through the season.