Look, everyone wants to know what is going to happen with Marcell Ozuna, in particular Braves fans who got to watch first hand just how valuable he could be to a lineup. In fact, it was one of the very first questions we started to tackle here at Talking Chop once the offseason started.
Its a really bizarre situation to be sure. Ozuna, by all accounts, was amazing in 2020 and put together a season that rightfully got him some MVP vote love and nearly got him the Triple Crown. With the injuries to Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies during the season, the Braves should be grateful that they had Marcell and Freddie on the roster or things could have gotten ugly in a hurry.
However, there are a lot of factors in play here. First, we still don’t know if teams are going to be allowed to have fans in stadiums which is going to impact how teams view their payrolls. We don’t even know the rules under which the season is going to be played which is particularly relevant to Ozuna as retaining the DH in the National League expands his market drastically including to the Braves even more. You MIGHT be willing to live with Ozuna’s “defense” in the outfield given the bat, but having the DH as an option for him is much more appealing.
Finally, there is just the matter of dollars and cents. Marcell was hoping to get paid after signing a one year deal with the Braves to get out from under the qualifying offer label and he still be in that mindset even after switching agents. Earlier in the offseason, it seemed like he had a robust market with at least 10 teams looking at him and that may still be the case.
Given all of that, the most recent reporting is that there has been little to no buzz around Ozuna’s free agency of late which is, frankly, surprising. Its possible that Ozuna is just not going to look at offers until the DH question is settled. Maybe the teams he is talking to just do not leak ANYTHING. Or maybe everyone is just in wait and see mode at the moment. Regardless, one of the best bats from the 2020 season is currently unemployed and that, in itself, is worth noting.
Another NL East rival made a move yesterday as the Nationals signed Kyle Schwarber to a one year deal to help fill a gap in their outfield. Before any of you Braves fans start clutching your pearls and worrying because you recognize Schwarber’s name, its worth noting that he was terrible in 2020 and has a hit tool that is pretty suspect which, combine with their acquisition of Josh Bell, makes one wonder if Washington is just buying a bunch of power hitting lottery tickets and just hoping for the best.