Braves Should Attempt to Void Ozuna Deal

First and foremost, baseball concerns are not the top priority when it comes to situations like the recent domestic incident involving Marcell Ozuna.

In case you’ve been under a rock, the star left fielder, who recently went on the injured list with broken fingers on his left hand, was arrested over the weekend on allegations related to domestic violence. The details, as outlined by the Sandy Springs, Ga., police, are pretty disgusting, to be frank.

Specifically, officers arrived to the home with the door standing open and witnessed Ozuna throwing his wife against the wall by her neck. That bit is important because it makes this case unique from almost any high-profile domestic violence case we’ve seen involving an athlete or other celebrity. Frequently, charges are never filed or are dropped because the abused individual elects not to pursue them, but that isn’t likely to be the case this time. From my (admittedly limited) knowledge of Georgia law, the officers who witnessed the incident can file the charges without the direct cooperation of Ozuna’s wife, Genesis.

Sincerely, I hope that both Marcell and Genesis get whatever help they need. I hope that Genesis is safe and that they both get some counseling, because this isn’t the first incident between them. This is clearly a volatile relationship that isn’t healthy for anyone, especially not the couple’s children.

But at some point, the baseball side of this will have to be addressed. During the broadcast of Monday’s game, Chip Caray referred to Marcell’s situation as “injury limbo” in a moment that could generously be described as clumsy at best. Over the weekend, the team released a statement via Twitter.

While Caray’s method for dealing with the situation wasn’t spectacular, there’s actually not much more the Braves can do right now beyond that statement. They handled it, as an organization, as best they could. But the day will come, and sooner than the team’s leadership probably wants, when they’ll have to sit down and make a decision about Ozuna and his four-year, $65 million contract that was signed this past offseason.

When that day comes, if this case proceeds as expected, the Braves should simply try to void it.

Player contracts in baseball have a standard provision that states a team can terminate a deal if a player fails to “conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship,” per a recent article for The Athletic by Ken Rosenthal. He also points out that a provision would allow the team to do the same if a player fails to “render his services” in any way.

Rosenthal highlights these clauses and others that are added to specific contracts, but he points out that because the players’ union says these clauses have not been collectively bargained, teams haven’t been able to void a contract in a similar situation. In fact, teams – including the Braves with Hector Olivera – haven’t even tried.

The Braves should change that.

Obviously, I can’t guarantee that it will work, even if Ozuna gets some sort of lengthy suspension. Of course, Major League Baseball could ban him for life, or he could receive a prison sentence that would more clearly nullify the deal. But most likely, there will be some sort of plea agreement that avoids prison time, and MLB will suspend him for the rest of this season and part of next.

But regardless of it it will work a not, the Braves should be the team to make this particular stand. Attempting to void the deal because Ozuna – if guilty – is a convicted abuser would set a great precedent for the organization and the league, while sending a strong message to abuse victims. Additionally, it would force the MLBPA and/or Ozuna’s agent to be the ones to defend a man who, at that point, would have been convicted of a truly heinous crime.

I normally side with the players on baseball-related matters, but this is different. Too often, teams have let the MLBPA off the hook by not even forcing the issue when it comes to these egregious cases. Instead, the Braves should cite the “personal conduct” language in the contract and void it. If the PA wants to challenge that, let them be the ones arguing that a player getting arrested and suspended, at the very least, for beating his wife isn’t a violation of his agreement with the team.

The alternative, not at least attempting to void the contract, tells everyone that this is no different than any other suspension. And it should be very different.

49 thoughts on “Braves Should Attempt to Void Ozuna Deal”

  1. On the Georgia law question, the officers CAN file on what they saw without a complaining witness. Most Superior Courts now have a “domestic violence protocol” that means if the potential complaining witness won’t testify, they charge her (or him).

    Jeremy, please specify what you know about “this isn’t the first incident between them.” Is there a published report (even if innuendo) before this contract was signed? If so, first, then the FO bought this. Second, the possibility of voiding a contract for previously known bad conduct is probably nil.

    A sad aspect of this is that the MLBPA will not allow this to change without that change being in exchange for something from the owners. The owners aren’t going to use their bargaining power on this non economic issue.

    And, IF they are going to release him, I think they must try to void the contract.

    I don’t think any action will be taken until at least one of (a) Fulton Criminal case is concluded or (b) MLB investigation is concluded. I expect MLB to issue a suspension within a week (which will probably be preliminary to a further ruling after further investigation). We will see.

  2. Very well said. He should never be allowed to wear any MLB uniform again. After all, Coppy got a lifetime ban for giving poor Latin kids too much money. Let’s send a message to these violent offenders.

  3. Many of Dip Carey’s moments are “clumsy at best.” He’s living proof of the shortcomings of nepotism.

  4. Cliff-
    Genesis was arrested last year for a domestic dispute, so the volatility between two of them is documented.

  5. To counter another question from last night, would you hate Chip Caray less if his name was Chip Smith?

  6. @6 I think it would be worse. As bad as he can be, at least we understand that he has this job because of his family. If he was Chip Smith, we would be pissed because we couldn’t understand how he sticks around. It would be like Lockhart and the pictures

  7. Having grown up in a household with my own Marcell Ozuna, I can tell you that the only “help” someone like that can receive is to be put behind bars. You have to have a personality disorder to do what he did. No amount of therapy can cure a personality disorder.

  8. The Braves organization should take this opportunity to take a stand, support the victim and send a clear and direct message of their organizational standard. This sort of abuse can’t be tolerated or accepted and this is where the Braves can step up and separate themselves from all the other organizations.
    Wish the man well in his recovery but take a stand now Braves! It’s the right thing to do.
    I could agree more with you! Well written Sir!

  9. cliff, what do you think Atlanta’s financial obligation to Ozuna will ultimately be?

  10. Snit with another top notch decision. They might play hard for him but he makes some awful decisions in so many situations

  11. Let’s sit back and let Smyly make this a 4-1 deficit. He isn’t missing close either

  12. That may be among the stupidest arguments Chip has ever made, and that’s saying something.

    “The batting average against fastballs is .254… That’s down 17 points compared to three years ago. So why wouldn’t you throw the fastball?”

    (1) Current NL batting average: .235. So what is the batting average against every other pitch? (You have to take into account control and SLG, but still…)
    (2) I believe it is one Chip Caray who has babbled incessantly: “Pitching is destroying timing.” and “If you just throw fastballs these guys could time anything.”

  13. What do you think is going to happen the third time through with Smyly? A lead off double and here we go. Can’t wait for Snit to be caught off guard yet again

  14. Atta boy 0-2 home run. Get this ass clown into the bullpen and out of the rotation. Throw Wright, Davidson, Muller… I don’t care. Smyly isn’t going to get it done.

  15. I don’t think anyone on this site is surprised by this. Why on earth does Snit do this? Is it really worth the “playing hard” thing for all of the questionable decisions? Maybe now is the time for a change? The magic seems to be gone

  16. With the way the schedule shapes up, the old June swoon is a real possibility. This season could real ugly very quickly

  17. Can Freeman be anymore uninterested?? He mopes around like he’s lost best friend …this team needs his leadership . Somebody needs to light a fire under his ass .. im tired of his pouting

  18. @26 …thats cause Braves need another big bat .. but they will sit on their asses trying to save money .. and wait till its too late … just go ahead and let FF walk .. get Ozuna money back .. get Smiley money and Morton … those 4 will give us about 80 mil to spend.. go get a LF and a 3B or 1B ( Riley will play one of those ) and a couple good relievers .

  19. The non verbals from Freddie have not been great at times this season. I don’t know if it’s the contract situation, the family he is missing or what, but he hasn’t seemed super locked in

  20. @23 You should take me up on my other bets so you can make even more money.

    Oh wait… 😬😬😬

  21. After giving up 2 HR in 26.1 IP last year, Smyly has given up 14 in 46 IP. Good gosh.

  22. My mother once asked me, in utter seriousness: “Remind me. What was the name of that baseball player who died of Lou Gehrig’s Disease?”

    True story.

  23. Acuna and Riley starting to slack off this team in for a long loosing streak im afraid ….

  24. Damn Ozzie…have an inning

    Glad it was Minter pitching instead of Webb

    Edit- never mind

  25. We get 16 mil Ozuna, 15 mil Morton, 11 mil Smiley , 9 mil Inciarte, 8 mil dArnaud … thats 60 mil .. but knowing Braves they pocket 30 mil .. wont spend it .. and if let FF walk that 80 mil .. anybody wanna guess what or who they go get ???

  26. Amongst main MLB TV play by play announcers, is Chip bottom half? Bottom third? Bottom fifth? Bottom?

  27. Now that Hawk Harrelson is mercifully retired, I don’t know if there are any as aggressively awful as Chip.

  28. I like what both Adrianza and Heredia have done for the team, but this is what happens when role players are forced into everyday ABs.

  29. And Luke Jackson is the only reliever capable of a shutdown inning. Luke is our best reliever right now.

  30. It’s not early in the season anymore. It’s like they are all hung over from last year still.
    This season is starting to look hopeless. If they start to fall out of it, attendance drops and that becomes the financial issue next year instead of COVID.

    Maintaining the status quo isn’t working. The whole team seems way to comfortable. They need a jump start…soon

  31. Smyly going 4 IP and giving up 3ER seems to be the typical outing.

    I would trust Lucy holding a football for Charlie Brown more than I’d trust this Braves pen for 5 IP on any given night.

    Chris Martin getting squeezed tonight ended up hurting us. That non-call, high ball 4 for Acuna in the 9th was horrible.

    One other item: there’s clearly no “mix it up” signals after folks get on base. Braves are now using more of a karate chop. Any thoughts there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *