Alex Anthopoulos’ tenure as Braves general manager has been nothing short of spectacular, but even the best people at their job have moments they would like to have back. Re-signing Marcell Ozuna to a lucrative four-year, $65 million contract prior to the 2021 season is one of those moments for Anthopoulos.
Since that day, Ozuna has been arrested for domestic violence, produced -1.1 fWAR, and arrested again for driving under the influence. It’s been such a miserable run that I was quite honestly shocked they held onto him after his latest run-in with the law. However, it’s evident that the financial burden that comes with releasing him — Ozuna is owed $33 million over the next two years after this season — has forced the Braves to hold onto him much longer than they would have liked… but it might actually end up paying dividends.
Following his DUI arrest, Marcell Ozuna was relegated to bench duties. He appeared in just one game from August 14th to September 1st — a home game on August 21st against Houston, in which he was booed profusely and struck out twice before being removed. It was an atrocious look for him and the organization. I thought for sure that would be the last time we saw him start in a Braves uniform, but Brian Snitker turned to him again on September 2nd and hasn’t looked back since.
Ozuna’s started in each of the last five games and actually been incredibly productive, hitting .438 with a homer, a double, and four RBIs. But more than just the stats, it looks like he’s begun to make adjustments at the plate and produce competitive at-bats. Ozuna only has two strikeouts since returning to the field. I expect to see him in the lineup tomorrow when the Braves take on the Mariners, and I no longer think it’s out of the realm of possibility that he makes the postseason roster.
If the Braves were going to cut ties with Ozuna, they would have done it weeks ago. They’ve proven they don’t mind the media backlash as long as it is for the good of the team. Right now, Ozuna is producing much better than Eddie Rosario and Robbie Grossman at the plate. Beyond that, the Braves also have a ton invested financially in him. Marcell Ozuna isn’t going away anytime soon, and if he keeps playing like this, he will be included on the postseason roster.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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