Report: Braves tried to trade Marcell Ozuna for two different pitchers

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It’s no secret the Braves have tried to move on from Marcell Ozuna. There’s too many factors at play, not only was he not producing on the field, he was causing problems off the field and has a massive contract. GM Alex Anthopoulos tried to remedy that issue… twice. Mark Bowman talked about it in his recent Mailbag:

What’s the most likely outcome for Ozuna? He’s on the 2023 Opening Day roster, traded for a player with similar bad contract, or released?

This might not be the desired response, but I expect he’ll be on Atlanta’s 2023 Opening Day roster. The Braves have unsuccessfully pursued potential bad contract swaps of Ozuna for both Patrick Corbin and Madison Bumgarner. Could something materialize? Possibly.

Could the Braves eat the $37 million owed Ozuna? Maybe. But given they just traded William Contreras to the Brewers, they don’t have another option to use as a primary designated hitter. So, I don’t see them going this route either.

I’m expecting Ozuna to come to camp with the understanding he has a chance to turn things around both on and off the field. If he could at least occasionally find the groove he found during the shortened 2020 season, he could be a serviceable bat in the lineup. If he is productive and isn’t a distraction in the clubhouse, the Braves could gain the value not available by releasing him or including him in a bad contract swap.

We already knew about the potential Patrick Corbin swap, that was rumored around the trade deadline. Corbin’s contract is worse than Ozuna’s, and he’s coming off of a year in which he posted a 6.31 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. He is owed $24 million in 2023 and $35 millon in 2024. I kind of understand the idea; he’s probably a lot more serviceable than Ozuna if you can figure him out, but that’s a tall task for a Braves team that hasn’t had a ton of luck turning bad starting pitchers around that come from other organizations (Robbie Erlin, Tommy Milone, etc.).

Madison Bumgarner is much more interesting. Some (myself included) thought the Braves could pursue him in free agency before he landed with the Diamondbacks. The first year of his deal, Bumgarner was one of the worst pitchers in baseball in a shortened 2020 season. He hasn’t been much better since, posting a 4.67 ERA in 2021 and 4.88 ERA in 2022. He’s making $23 million in 2023 and $14 million in 2024. I’d prefer him over Corbin; he’s nowhere near as washed and still somehow boasts a 0.25 ERA in the World Series. Regardless, the Diamonbacks said no thanks, and I understand.

I don’t think the Braves get a contract swap done with Ozuna, and I agree with Bowman — he’ll probably be around in Spring Training.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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