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The universal designated hitter eliminates just about any chance that the Atlanta Braves will release Marcell Ozuna, despite his checkered past.
Ozuna was arrested — and eventually entered a plea deal for — a domestic violence charge. The details of Ozuna’s incident were grim to say the least, and many wondered if he’d ever be able to return to Truist Park as an Atlanta Brave.
However, with Ozuna’s case now clear and no MLB suspension in his near future, the Braves could actually use his services.
Ozuna is listed in the Braves depth chart as an outfielder, however he could also be employed as a full-time DH, should Atlanta wish. The free agent market is plump full of potential DH options. Ozuna, however, may trump all of them — even Kyle Schwarber and Nelson Cruz — when fully healthy and on his game.
Braves: Should Marcell Ozuna stay?
Ozuna’s case may lose him a lot of support among Braves fans, but manager Brian Snitker seems willing to forgive him.
“No. As far as I know right now, he’s going to be there. He went through the process, and he’s been cleared to play. That’s all I care about. He’s in the Dominican, and I pull up the box scores, and it looks like he’s doing good. There’s a lot of guys out there, and it’s amazing how people forget. There’s a lot of guys who’ve played against us who’ve probably been in worse situations than he was. It seems like people have a tendency to forget or forgive. But that remains to be seen, too, I guess.”
Should the Braves keep Ozuna, they can devote their entire focus on re-signing perennial MVP candidate Freddie Freeman long-term, rather than finding another DH.
It might not satisfy all Braves fans, but Rob Manfred’s decision (along with the help of the MLBPA and owners, of course) could extend Ozuna’s tenure in Atlanta.