3 Braves who won't be back after crushing NLDS loss to Phillies

The Atlanta Braves' season has ended early once again. These players won't be back in 2024.

Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves
Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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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.