Atlanta Braves: CBA limits club options for dealing with Marcell Ozuna

Marcell Ozuna, former outfielder of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Marcell Ozuna, former outfielder of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
3 of 5
atlanta braves
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred must decide on appropriate disciplinary action for Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images) /

Atlanta Braves rights

The CBA specifically gives the Commissioner’s Office the right to impose discipline. In a report on the Felipe Vazquez case in 2019, Sports Illustrated said the length of a suspension is up to the commissioner.

"At a future date at Manfred’s choosing, Manfred could suspend Vazquez for violating the joint policy. The length of suspension would be entirely up to Manfred; there is no minimum or maximum amount."

The CBA does allow the commissioner to transfer disciplinary authority to the club at any time before the end of the Administrative leave period. In high-profile cases such as those of Ozuna or Felipe Vasquez, no Commissioner will transfer disciplinary authority to a club.

Absent a transfer of authority, the club can’t do anything that resembles a disciplinary or adverse action related to the incident. However, the club may put him on the restricted list until he’s released. While on the restricted list, players are not paid.

More from Tomahawk Take

If the player is injured while incarcerated because of the incident, and that injury rendered him unable to play when he’s released, the club may invoke paragraph 7 (b) of the uniform player’s contract (Appendix A of the current CBA). If the player shall:

  • fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep himself in first-class physical condition or to obey the Club’s train­ing rules; or
  • fail, in the opinion of the Club’s management, to exhibit suf­ficient skill or competitive ability to qualify or continue as a mem­ber of the Club’s team; or
  • fail, refuse or neglect to render his services hereunder or in any other manner materially breach this contract.

If the player is terminated under paragraph 7. (b), he may receive up to 45-days termination pay plus travel pay to his home, as described under Article IX B of the CBA.

The wording suggests that this paragraph would allow the club to unceremoniously dump a player like Ozuna, but it isn’t that simple.

About six years ago, I asked Jim Duquette why teams never used this option on players with long-term contracts who suddenly weren’t playing at a Major League level. I was told teams typically delete that clause from long-term contracts.

Even if the clause is still in the contract, enforcing it requires arbitration, and there’s history suggesting the player always wins.