2022 Braves Player Review: Marcell Ozuna

An Extra $200,000 Doesn't Buy Marcell Ozuna Happiness

On August 19th, not even a full calendar year after being arrested for a domestic violence charge, Marcell Ozuna was charge with a DUI, and for a second consecutive season, Ozuna created more noise off the field than he would on. His 4 year/$65 million dollar deal, coming off a near triple crown season and signed after COVID ball, has been a disappointment.

As for on field production, Marcell Ozuna had arguably the worst full season of his career, but did manage to keep his power numbers up, sending 23 balls over walls in 507 PA. However, due to the putrid defense that production never felt like it was ever in a meaningful situation and it all added up to negative value. He finished with a .226/.274/.413 slash line, which is horrible by LF standards and appalling for a DH.

To this point, the Atlanta Braves have remained committed to letting Marcell Ozuna try to figure it out. I believe we’ll learn more about Ozuna’s future with the Braves following Spring Training. At this point, no team has been willing to take on his deal in a contract swap. Piggyback that thought with AA’s collection of OFers that have been brought in to compete for a job, and the Braves will ultimately either get the desired production out of Marcell they seek or cut ties.

I believe the latter is the more likely eventual outcome.

49 thoughts on “2022 Braves Player Review: Marcell Ozuna”

  1. Braves probably don’t “need” another OFer, but Kyle Garlick just became available, is crazy cheap, ($750K in 2023) and would be another solid platoon option for LF as he has a career .839 OPS against LHP. He also has 1 option. AA likes depth…and he likes cusp guys that have options.

  2. I wish I lived in the universe where the Braves and their MLB-worst left field production didn’t need another outfielder. At this point they should probably acquire as many as possible just in case one of them hits his head and wakes up as someone who is good at baseball. It’s more likely than getting a bounceback from Rosario or Ozuna!

    Just as a fun little stroll down memory lane, the Braves had Garlick in the organization two years ago and let him go… to make room on the 40-man for Marcell Ozuna’s new four-year contract.

  3. Garlick was here and was DFA’d in February for Ozuna (or what bravesword said), but the odd thing about letting him, in particular, go was that the OF consisted of a bad Ender, a green Pache, Ozuna, and Acuña. They could’ve definitely carried him.

  4. Great! (And no one who likes Mitch Hedberg and likes the Braves could be anything but an awesome father.)

  5. There was a game very early in the season in which he was standing on third and Ozzie, who I think had just hit a double and was at 2nd, was castigating Ozuna for his shitty, careless baserunning. He was shouting at him in front of everyone. A ten-year veteran who needs that kind of schooling. I’ve never seen that before. He should have been DFA’d that night.

  6. When you’ve got the kind of money the Dodgers do, I kind of feel like going from Trea Turner to Miguel Rojas at shortstop should not be acceptable. (That’s honestly the kind of move I was expecting AA to make and then have to listen to Bowman and DOB slobber about what a shrewd pickup it was for the rest of the offseason.) Is resetting the luxury tax that important when you’re just going to throw $50 million per annum at Ohtani next offseason?

    Rojas can field, but the bat is AAA quality. This is supposed to be the best team in the league.

  7. Thanks a lot, crew!

    I’m 44 and just had a kid. When Rocco graduates from high school, I’ll be 62 and if any of those other dads make “grandad” jokes, I’ll beat the shit out of them with my cane!

  8. Congratulations to Ryan, and special congratulations to Rocco’s mom, and most especially to Rocco, who is blessed to be born to great parents.

  9. @18 – Driving to our oldest son’s high school graduation my wife said, “We’re too young to have a child graduating high school.” Like an idiot I said, “Oh there will be a lot of parents there younger than us.”

  10. I don’t think having a 18 year old at 62 is going to sound the same as it does today. Median age for child rearing is increasing. Wouldn’t surprise me if when you were 62, there are more 70 year olds with 18 year olds to where 62 doesn’t seem odd.

  11. Rocco Power Ratings
    1. Rocco McCoy Cothran (Number 1 in first week on the list!)
    2. Rocco (“Rocky”) Colavito (45 Career WAR)
    3. Rocco Baldelli (Would rank lower if his nickname weren’t “The Woonsocket Rocket”)
    4. Rocco (“Rocky”) Krsnich (Would rank higher if vowels weren’t so expensive in the 1940’s)
    5. Mickey Rocco (Last name? Srsly?)
    6. Trayce Thompson, whose nickname, apparently, is “Rocco’s Uncle” (C’mon man!)

  12. It’s a little known fact that vowels were not widely available to the public for purchase until the last quarter of the 20th century. Vowels in the 40’s had to be acquired through the black market.

  13. @25: I have restricted the list to baseball players. Moe Green, unlike Moe Berg, couldn’t hit a curve. Alex will, hoewver, make the Moe Power Rankings easily.

    @26: There was also a wartime shortage of vowels, which made the situation even worse.

  14. @24

    Honorable mentions for Chef Rocco Dispirito; Rocco Lampone, who rubbed out Hyman Roth; and Al Czervik’s henchman Rocco, who assisted Judge Smails in locating his checkbook.

  15. Hella old news, but I just watched Jon Bois’s 7-part History of the Atlanta Falcons documentary from September 2021. Pretty good way to burn some of the offseason before pitchers & catchers. It’s very good. (The Seattle Mariners doc is probably slightly better, but I loved them both.)

  16. I’m talking myself into the idea that Rosario will be decent near the bottom of the order. I’m not as confident about Ozuna, but it’s not impossible. Neither one of them have much of a career platoon split, so I guess we need only one to be decent.

    Both Ozuna and Rosario turned relatively short hot streaks into new contracts. If that was a cautionary tale about extending Harris and Strider, it didn’t take. Certainly, there is a difference between future expectations for 20 somethings vs. 30 somethings.

  17. @31 – ah nice, haven’t seen the Falcons series. I’m sure it’s been posted here before, but Bois’s video on Jeff Francoeur is also a delight.

    Also, I know the discourse w/r/t this horse is long past deceased, so I’m sorry for bringing it up here, but— I enjoyed the AA interview that Timo linked to, but man, it was tough to hear him go on & on in the podcast about the importance of having High-Quality Guys on the team while completely eliding the continued presence of a certain LF on the roster. I mean, I know it’s standard-issue GM-speak and not worth making much over, but if I knew what exactly a craw was, and if then I happened to have OR be given one, this would stick in it, whatever that might look like, or mean, for my day-to-day goings-on.

  18. I haven’t wanted to launch a Braves player into the sun this badly since Melky. And I haven’t forgotten Uggla, Olivera, Kemp, BUpton, or CJohnson.

  19. @33

    In several interviews, AA has eluded to, in what I perceived was “sorry, it’s not on me” when asked about dead money. From my sources, Ozuna is here because McGuirk isn’t open to eating so much $.

  20. He’s eating the money whether he likes it or not. The only question is how much bad play he wants to wash it down with.

    Looks like the Braves are going to arbitration with Fried. Everyone else settled.

  21. I also recommend the AA interview. I’m a big fan, in large part because he’s obviously very smart. Because he’s so smart, he’s very good at coming across as forthcoming and candid when he is in fact quite cagey as to what he reveals. Nothing wrong with that!

    His discussion of Fried was especially interesting. He insists that Fried will likely age very well, and his reasons make a lot of sense to me. Sounds like he’d be a good candidate for extension, right? Still, I’ll be very surprised if he extends Max. He talked about signing guys to the one big deal they have left in their career (like Freeman and Swanson) as opposed to the guys who will have another big deal after the extension they sign with the Braves (like Ronald, Ozzie, and Harris). He’s just strongly inclined not to compete against the free agent dollars that folks in the last year or two before free agency can expect to get.

  22. @38

    I mean, I get why McGuirk thinks there’s value there. Perhaps Ozuna still wants to play after his age-33 season and gives a shit just enough to have decent age-32 and/or age-33 seasons these next couple years. I get there’s a long line of guys who never did such a thing, but if you release him, then there’s no hope.

    There’s a non-zero chance Ozuna decides to get into shape and salvage the rest of his career. I sure as hell wouldn’t if I were him, but it’s possible.

  23. @39, agreed. My read on the Fried conversation, actually, was that he was saying that despite the fact that he loves Fried, he’s extremely unlikely to extend him because it would take a ton of money, and that would hugely take away from the flexibility he’s trying to preserve across the roster. As I read it, it sounded like he basically doesn’t want to commit large dollars to any single player in the rotation. So that would explain why he took a medium-sized risk on the Strider extension.

  24. There’s a non-zero chance of a lot of things. That doesn’t mean the Braves should waste their time betting on them. And really, nothing about Ozuna’s character suggests to me that he’s going to wake up one morning and decide that he needs to be the best player he can be again.

    And really, what if Ozuna comes back and is adequate? If the Braves release him, he signs with Cincinnati or whoever, and tosses out a .725 OPS with no defense in 2023… you really going to regret missing out on that?

    As for Fried, I don’t really see how anyone can look at the way AA handled the Freeman or Swanson situations and think he has a chance in hell of being a Brave past 2024. He’s too close to free agency now, he’s going to want market value or close to it, and AA doesn’t sign guys for market value unless it’s short term.

  25. On the field, I feel the same way about Ozuna as I felt about Jeff Francoeur. The odds are overwhelmingly stacked towards the proposition that this is who he is, this is how good as he is, and any transaction to ship him off will be of the “Great trade. Who’d we get?” variety.

    Off the field, I’d like to fire him into the sun.

    Sometimes you get the long-term contract, and sometimes the long-term contract gets you. Sunk cost. Just move on.

  26. @39–agreed. AA said some interesting things about the benefits of having a deep rotation (as in 2019 and 2022), indicating he’d rather have 4-5 very good starters than 1-2 excellent starters and mediocre guys filling out the rotation. We’ll get a good empirical test of that idea this year in the Braves/Mets pennant race.

  27. #31
    I was at that Dave Hampton game in 1972 where he became the 1st Falcons back to gain 1,000 yards (33:27 to 35:08). They stopped the proceedings to present him with a game ball. Then, he promptly lost 6 yards & finished the season with 995. I was 9-years old & that was at my 1st NFL game.

    My 2nd game? The Jan ’81 Playoff game vs. Dallas (aka “The Drew Pearson Game”). That’s 31:30 to 37:00 in Part 2. Froze my ass off & got a speeding ticket that day, too. Trifecta.

    Carson Beck was No. 2 last year w/ Brock Vandergriff at No. 3, while Gunner Stockton ran the scout team. (Stockton played Max Duggan in title-game prep, just like Stetson played Baker Mayfield in Rose Bowl prep in ’17.)

    But, according to Kirby, there will be a 3-way Spring competition between them. Beck is considered the more classic pocket passer with the best grasp of the offense, while the other two have better running skills. Decent chance one of the three transfers after the Spring Game.

  28. @18 I’m 61 and my youngest is 19. My Dad retired when I was in college (of course, he was 70 at the time) and I received Social Security for a couple of years before graduation. That was a fat load of beer money.

  29. The Braves are going to have to bust into a new stratosphere of contracts to keep Fried in the fold, not necessarily in total value, but in AAV. Fried is going to easily command $30MM or more in free agency. I don’t think the Braves are getting him for a penny less than 6/$180. But if he hits the open market, forget it.

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