Will the Braves be able to void Marcell Ozuna’s contract?

Marcell Ozuna Braves playoff roster

The black hole that is Marcell Ozuna grew even darker this morning, as he was arrested for driving under the influence at 4:39 AM following the Braves big win over the Mets. For a few weeks, I’ve been adamant that Marcell Ozuna wouldn’t make it through the season. From strictly a performance perspective, he just doesn’t bring anything to the team. But this arrest should be the icing on the cake.

The only reason Ozuna has hung around for so long is because of his contract. Following the 2020 season, the Braves inked him to a four-year, $65 million contract. They still owe him $41 million, but at this point, it’s a sunk cost. There’s no point in letting him continue to negatively affect the team both on and off the field.

One thing I’ve been asked a bunch is whether the Braves will be able to avoid Ozuna’s contract after his second arrest in the last 18 months. The short answer is no, even if the contract terminology may make it seem like a possibility.

I would love for the Braves to somehow get out from under Ozuna’s albatross of a contract, but we aren’t that lucky. Major League Baseball has made it nearly impossible for the contracts of players to be voided. They are fully guaranteed, and it would take an astonishing amount of misconduct for a player not to receive his full salary.

Ozuna’s first arrest was reduced to a misdemeanor, and while I don’t condone drinking and driving, the Braves aren’t getting out of the remaining $41 million left on his contract because he neglected to call an Uber. Perhaps if more issues arise, things change, but as of now, the Braves are still on the hook for every penny owed to Marcell Ozuna.

Photo David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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