Report: The Braves were close to dealing Marcell Ozuna at the trade deadline

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The Braves trade deadline has come and gone with only a few minor deals coming to fruition. The most impactful was landing Jake Odorizzi in exchange for Will Smith, but that’s not the only bad contract the Braves tried to get off the books. According to Craig Mish and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Braves and Marlins almost struck a deal involving Marcell Ozuna at the 2022 trade deadline:

Here’s what Mish and Jackson had to say:

The Marlins discussed numerous proposals with teams, and Miami had the opportunity to deal outfielder Avisail Garcia, who has been a disappointment. But it likely would have required the Marlins to take substantial money back. The Marlins and Braves had a discussion involving Garcia and former Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but it never reached the point of either side proposing a trade.

Ozuna is hitting .219, with a .274 on-base percentage, with 18 homers and 40 RBI in 96 games and 402 plate appearances. Garcia is at .233, .270, with 7 homers and 30 RBI in 87 games and 341 plate appearances. This would have essentially been a swap of contracts.

Ozuna is earning $16 million this season and is set to make $16 million each of the next two seasons, with a $16 million team option (or $1 million buyout) in 2025. Garcia is making $12 million this season and is due $12 million each of the next three seasons, with a $12 million team option (or $5 million buyout) in 2026. Ozuna’s defense has declined and he’s now considered primarily a designated hitter. The Marlins already have enough of those.

Garcia then left Tuesday’s game with a hamstring injury.

Ozuna has some of the worst reverse splits in baseball. Combined with his domestic violence incident in 2021, this would have been a fresh start for both players. Unlike Ozuna, Garcia is a better bat against lefties at a lower cost. His contract still would have been pretty ugly, but perhaps it would have been easier for them to get out from under, considering he doesn’t come with a history of domestic violence.

Regardless, this is something we can expect the Braves to continue to explore. Ozuna’s contract is the black eye of the organization, and eventually, they will get rid of it one way or another. I would be surprised if he started next season on the team.

Photographer: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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