Aug 20, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves designated hitter Marcell Ozuna (20) in the dugout against the Houston Astros in the sixth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Braves have virtually their entire core locked up on very team-friendly deals. They’re set up to be competitive for a long time because of it, but still have some players on awful deals which could impact that. Who from the team is stealing money because of a bad contract?
The Atlanta Braves have done an unbelievable job at building and maintaining a core that has already won a World Series. Atlanta has Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Spencer Strider, Michael Harris, Austin Riley, Matt Olson, and even newcomer Sean Murphy on contract extensions, which is truly remarkable.
The Braves appear to be set to compete for the next half-decade or longer and it’s because of these great value deals. Unfortunately, Alex Anthopoulos has made a couple of signings he’s likely regretting right now.
Which players, because of bad contracts, are essentially stealing money from the Braves?
1. Marcell Ozuna’s contract has been a disaster for the Braves
Marcell Ozuna had a monster year for the Braves in the shortened 2020 season, hitting .336 and leading the league with 18 home runs and 56 RBI. He played in all 60 games and finished sixth in the NL MVP balloting. That season earned him a four-year $65 million dollar deal that offseason which includes a club option for the 2025 season.
The Braves have gotten more bad than good since signing Ozuna to this deal. He’s been in the news for several reasons off the field, most notably a domestic violence arrest back in 2021.
Off-field issues like that are never good, and to make matters worse, he’s given them practically nothing on the field. He’s slashed .222/.278/.397 with 30 home runs and 82 RBI in 172 games since inking the deal. 30 home runs isn’t too bad, but averaging only 15 after 2020 when he hit 18 in just 60 games isn’t great.
To make matters worse, Ozuna has regressed and is an awful defender. He can provide some power but does very little else. There’s a very good chance he doesn’t earn a starting job if he doesn’t play well in the spring. I’d be shocked if he lasts through the 2024 season, the final year of his guaranteed deal.