The Atlanta Braves pivoted Tuesday night securing outfielder Marcell Ozuna on a one-year, $18 million deal to help plug the hole in their lineup. While Ozuna wouldn’t have been my first choice when the offseason began, he became necessary as soon as Josh Donaldson left to join the Minnesota Twins on a big four-year deal.
Ozuna brings some positives to the Braves. He finished 2019 with a slash line of .243/.330/.474 with 29 home runs and was worth 2.6 fWAR. He also finished with a career-low .259 BABIP last season. His Statcast numbers suggest reasons to be excited as he finished in the Top 7% of the league with an average 91.8 mph exit velocity and in the Top 4% in hard hit rate at 49.2%. That combined with a short commitment are reasons to be excited about the possibilities.
Now what this does to the overall outfield picture remains to be seen. Alex Anthopoulos told reporters Tuesday night that Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr. will play every day in the outfield with Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis and Adam Duvall in competition for the third spot. Inciarte’s defense alone should give him the edge in that competition if he is healthy with Markakis and Duvall both capable of slotting in as bench options. Atlanta could also pursue a trade of Inciarte but they me best served waiting until he has time to reclaim his value after an injury plagued 2019 season and until top prospect Cristian Pache is ready to take over in center.
More Ozuna Reaction
- Marcell Ozuna is a perfectly fine addition to the Braves lineup for 2020 - Talking Chop - Demetrius Bell
- Braves sign slugger Marcell Ozuna, fortifying lineup - AJC - Gabe Burns
- Braves get their cleanup hitter, sign Marcell Ozuna for one year at $18 million - The Athletic - David O’Brien
- Atlanta gets a bargain in Marcell Ozuna, while other contenders miss an opportunity - The Athletic - Keith Law
- Ozuna signs 1-year deal with Braves, to play LF - MLB.com - Mark Bowman
More Braves News
FanGraphs prospect writers Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen released their Top 27 prospects list for the Atlanta Braves. Outfielder Cristian Pache tops the list and is followed by Drew Waters and Ian Anderson.
Also at FanGraphs, Dan Szymborski released his 2020 Zips projections for the Braves.
Baseball Hall of Fame
The Baseball Hall of Fame voting results were announced on Tuesday night with both Derek Jeter and Larry Walker gaining admission. Jeter finished just one vote shy of giving us a second straight unanimous selection. Jeter’s teammate Mariano Rivera become the first player to be unanimously selected in the last voting cycle. Larry Walker received 76.6% of the vote to gain election in his 10th and final year on the ballot. Curt Schilling (70%), Roger Clemens (61%) and Barry Bonds (60.7%) still have work left to do. Andruw Jones is still a long way from election but saw an increase in support this voting cycle appearing on 19.4 percent of the ballot.
More MLB News
Nolan Arenado is not happy with the Colorado Rockies and that is reportedly centered on the team’s inaction this winter according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. It has been less than a year since Colorado signed Arenado to an eight-year, $260 million extension but the team failed to extend its payroll this Winter and Arenado has expressed betrayal believing that the team has not done enough to improve after a 71-91 season.
MLB Pipeline continued its countdown of the Top 10 prospects at each position on Tuesday with a look at third base. Phillies prospect Alec Bohm tops the list and is followed by Pittsburgh’s Ke’Bryan Hayes.