Atlanta signs Marcell Ozuna
Last week, the Braves lost one of their best hitters from last year and a guy they very much wanted to bring back for 2020 in Josh Donaldson. They have younger players in Austin Riley and Johan Camargo who can play third base, but they are missing that big bat in the middle of their lineup. They found a replacement on Tuesday, signing Marcell Ozuna to a one-year deal worth $18 million. For the Braves, the motivation is clear, like I said above. They had Ronald Acuña, Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman at the top of their lineup, but they really needed one more power bat to throw into that mix. Ozuna is that. He consistently hits the ball hard who has had an Isolated Power over .230 in two of the last three years. He will likely cut into the playing time for both Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte, with Acuña shifting between right and center field. As for Ozuna, he is betting on himself again after finding his market depressed, presumably due to having the qualifying offer attached. He will make essentially what he declined with the qualifying offer (it’s $200,000 more) earlier in the winter and can re-enter the market again next year with no QO.
Sox Spin: A Mookie Betts trade seems incredibly unlikely, but on the off-chance it is realistic the Braves were always a rumored spot. That is no longer the case, and barring injury it likely won’t be at the trade deadline, either.