In somewhat shocking news, Marcell Ozuna‘s punishment has been made public by Major League Baseball after their investigation of his domestic violence dispute. He only received a retroactive 20-game suspension, which he has already served while he was on administrative leave, meaning Ozuna is cleared to play immediately.
#Braves' Marcell Ozuna received a retroactive 20-game suspension from MLB. That means he is eligible to return immediately, since the suspension includes 20 regular season games he served while he was on administrative leave between Sept. 10 and the conclusion of the 2021 season.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) November 29, 2021
I don’t think anybody saw this coming, and it certainly changes things regarding the Braves offseason. Obviously, the evidence against Ozuna wasn’t as damning as many of us thought, but that doesn’t mean the Braves have any interest in him returning to the team.
The PR backlash from a domestic violence situation can be detrimental. However, I do not think the Braves will eat the money and release him. Following this news, that option is now off the table. Alex Anthopoulos could look to trade him. I’m still not sure how many suitors he would have, or we could very well see Ozuna on the field to begin the 2022 season.
From a baseball perspective, having Ozuna back immediately is the best possible scenario for the Braves. They have holes throughout their lineup, and he would patch up a big one, serving as the team’s DH or left-fielder. Still, this is a fluid situation, and I’m not quite sure how Alex Anthopoulos will handle it.