Marcell Ozuna and 2 Braves Star’s are next trade…

3 more Braves who won’t be back after Alex Anthopoulos opens trade channels.

Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves have traded away Kyle Wright, Michael Soroka and more over the past few days. Are there any other expendable players who could be dealt?

Alex Anthopoulos is one of the more unpredictable executives in baseball. Just when you think Atlanta will sit on its hands, perhaps sticking with the 104-win roster from a season ago, Anthopoulos makes three moves that have Braves fans scratching their heads.

Atlanta traded for Aaron Bummer just a few days ago to upgrades its bullpen. Despite a bad season by his standards in 2023, Bummer is an elite reliever at his best, and Anthopoulos bought low on a player the White Sox weren’t previously making available. Don’t be surprised if an affordable extension follows, if we know anything about AA.

The trades of Nick Anderson and Kyle Wright — both dealt separately to the Royals — were a little more surprising. Anderson was solid out of the Braves bullpen when healthy, but potentially expendable given the moves Atlanta has made so far this offseason.

Wright is out for the 2024 season, but just a year removed from leading the National League in wins. The Royals received a potential ace, if all is right, in return for a failed former top prospect. Yes, Wright’s injuries are a concern, but what does Anthopoulos know that the rest of MLB is lacking?

The Braves could trade A.J. Smith-Shawver.

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Most of the offseason chatter around the Braves considers Smith-Shawver off limits. However given what we’ve learned about Anthopoulos just the last few days, it’s clear he’s willing to go to any lengths to upgrade this Atlanta team.

Smith-Shawver is young, and a raw pitching product. In 2023, Smith-Shawver provided some important major-league innings at just 20 years of age. Brian Snitker was confident in Smith-Shawver’s ability to pick up important innings during the middle of the season, whether it be starting or out of the bullpen.

While Smith-Shawver could fill some rotation depth for the Braves next season as the roster is currently constructed, he could also be an essential piece in a trade for Chris Sale or Corbin Burnes, should Anthopoulos be interested in such a move.

The Braves could trade Marcell Ozuna while his value is highest.

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Marcell Ozuna has been arrested twice during his tenure with the Braves — once for domestic violence, and another as a DUI. Still, Anthopoulos and the Atlanta coaching staff has stuck by Ozuna. Some of that may have to do with the DH’s contract, as Ozuna won’t be a free agent until 2025 at the earliest, when the Braves have a club option. In previous seasons, Ozuna was owed at least $16 million in one of the worst deals Anthopoulos has agreed to during his time as president of baseball operations.

Ozuna had a bounce-back season in 2023, playing primarily designated hitter rather than left field. Ozuna is a liability defensively, but with only his bat to focus on, the 34-year-old hit 40 home runs for 100 RBIs. If Anthpoulos is going to sell high on Ozuna, now is the time. He has a year left on his deal and could provide plenty of power if called upon.

On the surface trading Ozuna does not seem wise, but Atlanta has plenty of options at DH, including Travis d’Arnaud, who was extended through the 2024 season and is one of the better hitting catchers in baseball. However, d’Arnaud is stuck on a team which also employs Sean Murphy — a perennial All-Star candidate.

The Braves should trade Vaughn Grissom unless they plan on moving him to left field.

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Atlanta traded Vaughn Grissom’s top competition at backup shortstop in Braden Shewmake to the White Sox. Shewmake is a capable defender — more so than Grissom — but doesn’t have the same powerful back that Grissom possesses.

The problem with Grissom is that he doesn’t provide much defensive stability anywhere on the infield. While he’s a fine second baseman, Ozzie Albies has that spot solidified moving forward. At shortstop, he didn’t cut it, and lost the starting job to Orlando Arcia despite an offseason spent with Ron Washington working on his defensive abilitiy.

A move to left field could help increase his playing time. It would also save the Braves money, which is the argument made by fans and pundits alike. Grissom is an MLB-ready bat, he just shouldn’t play in the infield. DH isn’t available, so why not replace Eddie Rosario? Anthopoulos has considered this possibility.

“(Playing Grissom in left field) is a scenario because he’s a tremendous athlete,” said Anthopoulos. “We did it with Austin Riley (who played left field as a rookie in 2019). Guys like Chipper Jones did the same thing. So that could happen. We’re not committed to that. But the fact that he can play short, second and third, we think he’s absolutely athletic enough if we want to put him out in the outfield.”

While an option, is playing Grissom in the outfield probable? He has limited experience there. Trading him elsewhere — where he might receive consistent playing time at a position he’s comfortable with — makes plenty of sense if the Braves can get starting pitching back in return.

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