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Braves Mailbag: Marcell Ozuna, Mike Foltynewicz’s future, Drew Waters and more

National League Championship Series Game 7: Atlanta Braves v. Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Thank you to everyone who sent in questions for this week’s mailbag. We received so many responses that I am going to split this up into two or three articles. I still may not be able to get to all of them but this is something we are going to do a little more often this winter. On to the questions.

I was surprised that neither Bryce Wilson nor Huascar Ynoa was not used in game 7 against the Dodgers. Wouldn’t one of them have been a more reasonable choice rather than allowing Minter and Martin to pitch beyond their limits?

I don’t think so. Wilson was most likely lined up for a start in Game 1 or 2 of the World Series. Snitker said that Minter was wanting to pitch in Game 6 and I don’t think they pushed Martin further than he could go. Personally, I think the offense going quiet over the final three games had more to do with them losing the series than the bullpen.

Do you think the Braves have any shot at a realistic to keep Ozuna?. Do you think he’s the kind of guy where the team chemistry is such that he might take a slight discount? Do you know if playing outfield is important to him or is DH enough?

It is important to note that at this point, it is hard to say what free agency will look like this winter. Playing a 60-game season without fans is going to have an impact.

With that said, I do think the Braves have a reasonable chance to keep Ozuna provided the DH does stick around in the National League. As the roster currently stands, they are going to be in need of another impact bat and he filled that role nicely in 2020. All indications are that Ozuna enjoyed his time with the Braves and fit in nicely in the clubhouse but I would not expect a discount. Reports were that Ozuna turned down a multi-year offer to bet on himself. He will be looking to recoup that multi-year offer this winter and likely at an increased rate.

I did not see any comments in regards to Ozuna’s preference between playing in the outfield or DH. My feeling was that it probably does not matter to him. Ozuna hit .362/.464/.691 as the DH and .275/.359/.493 while playing the outfield. It is a very small sample size so you probably should not put too much stock in those numbers but you could see where there could be some merit in them as well.

What was happening behind the scenes with Foltynewicz this season? If his velocity was really back up while we were in dire need of starting pitching and they still didn’t give him a call, it would seem like there was something else going on...

I am kind of surprised this question has not been asked much more over the summer. My feeling was always that once he was off the 40-man roster, it was going to be hard for him to earn his way back on. I agree with you that it seemed strange that he was dropped after just one start and essentially jettisoned. I also think it could be telling that he went unclaimed through the waiver process. This is completely my opinion but it looks like both sides would probably benefit from a change of scenery and a fresh start.

2020 bullpen was great but what are the chances of bringing back Melancon and Greene and will they exercise the club option on O’Day?

I think they will at least explore a reunion with Melancon and Greene. Melancon was great this season, although there were some warning signs along the way. He will most likely be looking at a cut in pay so I could see a scenario where the Braves try to bring him back on a short deal. Greene is interesting to me as well. I feel like some team may look at him again as a closer and his usage in Atlanta was always kind of strange.

O’Day’s option is for $3.5 million. The three-batter minimum probably hurts him but I think they pick up the option and bring him back.

Obviously this series did not go as we hoped but the season probably went better than most expected. Especially after the injury to Soroka. What is your biggest positive takeaway from this season when looking forward to next season and what is your biggest negative takeaway?

My biggest positive was Max Fried taking another step forward and Ian Anderson’s arrival and stellar showing. Was also good that we got some positive signs from Kyle Wright and even Bryse Wilson although there is still work to be done with both.

The biggest negative for me was the lost development year in the minors. I think the alternate training sites worked well for the players there, but there were a lot of guys that were left out of the mix that could have used the development time.

With Pache coming on and showing signs he can make the step to the next level, what does that mean for Drew Waters? Is it an either or situation where one will likely be trade bait or is there room in the Braves outfield for both of them in the near future?

There is always the chance that the Braves decide to make a trade and Drew Waters will likely be at or near the top of every other team’s wishlist when in discussions with Atlanta. With that said, I think there is room for Waters and Pache to both be in outfield together at some point. Given how things finished, I think it is fair to say that Pache will go to spring training looking to lock down the centerfield job. I think Waters will start the season at Triple-A and may spend most of the year there. He needs the at-bats and he needs to make some changes to his approach, but I am still high enough on him to see him as a piece of the puzzle for Atlanta.

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