Braves GM leaves door open to parting ways with Marcell Ozuna

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The Marcell Ozuna contract is one of the worst deals in baseball and a hideous wart on Alex Anthopoulos’ resumé. After nearly capturing the Triple Crown, Ozuna signed a lucrative four-year, $65 million contract to stay with the Braves. However, it’s been downhill since then. Ozuna has accrued -0.9 fWAR because of his abysmal defense, .222 batting average, and .675 OPS since signing that deal. And his off-the-field issues aren’t helping, catching a DUI and domestic violence charge in a short period.

So it’s no surprise the Braves tried to move him. Earlier in the offseason, Mark Bowman reported the club unsuccessfully tried to trade Ozuna prior to the trade deadline, noting the deal was for Patrick Corbin, who notoriously has one of the worst contracts in the MLB. He’s owed $59 million over the next two seasons… AND the Nationals still weren’t willing to take on the remaining $33 million left on Ozuna’s deal. It just shows how difficult it’ll be to move him and his contract.

More than likely, the Braves will have to eat most, if not all, of the money still owed to him over the next two seasons, which might not seem attractive. However, in a recent interview with Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, Alex Anthopoulos left the door open to parting ways with Ozuna in some capacity.

On another subject, what are the plans for Marcell Ozuna?

I expect him to be on the roster in spring training.

What about after spring training?

Ask me in spring training.

The Braves have an absolute black hole in left field, and I’m not sure getting rid of Ozuna will fix it. Sure, they might have some pocket change to fill the void if they get his contract off the books. But given the Braves’ needs and their payroll situation, it’s very possible Ozuna is on the 2023 Opening Day roster.

There’s a chance we see some positive regression and get a version of Ozuna that is closer to his 2020 campaign, but if his performance in the Dominican Winter League is any indication, it’s not likely. In 13 games with 45 at-bats, Ozuna has posted a .222 average with one home run. His .695 OPS and other metrics are on par with what we saw him produce with the Braves last year, which isn’t encouraging.

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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