On a Thursday in the offseason, Mark Bowman dropped an interesting nugget in his weekly newsletter. The Braves unsuccessfully tried to trade Marcell Ozuna prior to the trade deadline; Bowman noted the deal was for Patrick Corbin.
So for those of you still holding out hope that Ozuna’s salary might be dumped this offseason, do not hold your breath. Corbin just finished his 10th MLB season with two years remaining on his six-year, $140 million contract. The southpaw finished the season 6-19 with a 6.31 ERA, becoming the first National League pitcher to record 19 losses since the Padres’ Bobby Jones in 2001. Corbin’s contract is among the worst in all of baseball, as he’s still owed $59 million over the next two seasons… AND the Nats still weren’t willing to take on the remaining $33 million left on Ozuna’s deal.
Ozuna is quite the off-the-field distraction as of recently, catching a DUI and domestic violence charge in a short period. His on-the-field performance isn’t much better, either. Since signing a four-year, $65 million contract with the Braves, Ozuna has accrued -0.9 fWAR because of his abysmal defense, .222 batting average, and .675 OPS. Moving him isn’t going to be easy, as Chase noted.
Let’s be clear — anybody who is taking on the contract of Marcell Ozuna will almost certainly release him once the trade is complete. He brings no value to the table, on or off the field. So in a trade, the Braves will be asking teams to eat $33 million in salary, unless Atlanta agrees to eat some of the salary themselves to make the deal more palatable, which is a more realistic possibility. Still, to clear a significant amount of the money off the books, it is going to take some pretty good prospects, and I’m not sure that’s something the Braves will be eager to do, given their farm system is already barren.
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. I doubt Atlanta goes into the 2023 campaign with Marcell Ozuna on the roster.
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