The Braves got good news from a player’s perspective and absolutely horrible news from a PR/humane perspective:
Come Spring Training, unless something changes between now and then, Marcell Ozuna will be in a Braves uniform and the taint of a domestic abuser will be on the Braves AND all of the pens of baseball reporters will be quick to the ink to chastise the Braves once again as this will be their 4th domestic violence case in the last 25 years. I’m not going to get into my personal opinion about this matter, rather I’ll look at this from a personnel perspective. With Ozuna in tow, the Braves have an interesting situation ahead of them when the lockout concludes. Let’s take a look at the OF/DH situation and play at GM to see what could work.
As of now the Braves likely have Ronald Acuña Jr., Adam Duvall, and Marcell Ozuna penciled in the OF/DH roles. It’s been speculated that Acuña could be back by opening day, but a better guess would be May. Cristian Pache and/or Guillermo Heredia could fill a spot until Acuña is ready and that provides some level of comfort. However, that puts a real strain on the offense that still lack a proven CFer, unless you count Adam Duvall (I would). My guess is the Braves would like to utilize Duvall as a corner OF, but could be forced to put him in CF should the personnel not come together the way they’d like.
The Return of Jorge Soler?
I think I can speak for all Braves fans, but Soler was absolutely brilliant in a Braves uniform. And while his defense has been under scrutiny since his MLB debut, he seemed perfectly acceptable in the OF for the Braves, especially at home when the RF plays much small in comparison to other right fields across the league.
But we cannot ignore the elephant in the room. Ozuna is THAT elephant. Simply put, if Ozuna is here, I cannot imagine the Braves can carry another RH bat first OFer. If the Braves utilize a trade to get rid of Ozuna (or just release him) then that could open an avenue for Soler. Until then, we’ll just assume Soler is a Noler.
The Return of Eddie Rosario?
The Braves definitely need another LHH in the lineup and Eddie Rosario is a darn good one. However, if the Braves were to sign Eddie, then that likely means they’re sticking Duvall in CF, which isn’t altogether a bad idea. People tend to forget a few things about Duvall and the first thing on that list is that the dude is actually quite fast. While he doesn’t steal a lot of bases, he ranks in the 86th percentile for sprint speed. Also, he’s quite rangy, finishing in the 70th percentile in jumps and the 82nd percentile in Outs Above Average. Those numbers didn’t really change when planted in captain’s chair, so yes, this is my official endorsement that Adam Duvall would be a perfectly capable CFer for the 2022 Braves.
And if that’s the case, Eddie Rosario fits in quite nicely. The Braves can utilize Eddie as their everyday LFer while giving Ozuna the DH ABs. Adding Rosario to Freddie Freeman (yes, I’m still going to assume he’s a Brave lifer) gives the Braves a formidable lineup against any pitcher, no matter the hand he utilizes to throw a ball.
Other Free Agent Outfielders that could fit the role Rosario would fill:
Imagining a Lineup
- Ronald Acuña
- Ozzie Albies
- Freddie Freeman
- Austin Riley
- Eddie Rosario
- Marcell Ozuna
- Adam Duvall
- Travis d’Arnaud
- Dansby Swanson
I still believe the Braves could finally make that big trade, and if they do, I’d imagine that it would be for an everyday CFer so Duvall and Acuña can really shine in the corners. If that’s the case, the Braves could very well have the best defensive OF since the days of Martin Prado, Michael Bourn, and Jason Heyward.