Atlanta Braves Reach Agreement With Marcell Ozuna
Marcell Ozuna signed a one year contract with the Atlanta Braves for 18 million dollars. Ozuna was able to cash in on some productive years with both the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals. He declined the qualifying offer from the Cardinals and was able to make basically the same money despite the draft pick compensation.
Ozuna will be adding a potent bat to the middle of the order for the Braves. This past season, even in a down year, Ozuna hit .241/.328/.472 for the Cardinals. His home run stroke was still working, however, as he hit 29 long balls and contributed 23 doubles. Ozuna had a career-high 12 steals this past season as well. The Cardinals were fourth in all of MLB in stolen bases this past season, so it is no surprise that Ozuna picked up the pace to fit in with a running offense.
A likely contributor to his down year in the slash line was a fractured finger he suffered at the end of June. He returned in August and had a great month but September was really a killer on his average. He slashed .160/.282/.340, however, it could have been bad luck given a .155 BABIP. Whether it was pressing in a contract year, a playoff chase or an injury that contributed is unknown. Either way, Ozuna showed up in the postseason for the Cardinals in a big way.
During the two playoff series that the Cardinals played in, Ozuna was a spark plug. He hit .324/.359/.595 with two homers and four doubles. Whatever was plaguing him in September seemed to disappear when the calendar flipped to October. That is good news for the Braves, as they hope to make the playoffs and perform well once there.
Marcell Ozuna spent the past two seasons with the Cardinals, and before that he was with the Marlins. After a breakout season at the age of 26, he was traded during the teardown of the Marlins. That year he hit a career-high 37 home runs with a slash line of .312/.376/.548. He also won a Gold Glove.
Ozuna was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. He made his way through the minors and made his debut for the Marlins in 2014 at the age of 23.