Marcell Ozuna, Braves Agree to 1-Year, $18M Contract

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2020

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 07:  Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning in game four of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 07, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
Scott Kane/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves landed outfielder Marcell Ozuna on a one-year deal worth $18 million, the club announced Tuesday. 

Ozuna is coming off an up-and-down two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals after the Miami Marlins traded him.

The slugger was a two-time All-Star with his first team, including during a dominant 2017 season in which he had a .312 batting average, 37 home runs and 124 RBI, all career highs. He won a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger and earned MVP votes that season.

He wasn't quite as successful in St. Louis, even with over 20 home runs and 80 RBI in each season.

The 29-year-old finished 2019 with a .241/.328/.472 slash line, adding 29 home runs and 89 RBI.

A finger injury also cost him all of July as he finished with 130 games played. 

His defense in left field suffered as well, with just two defensive runs saved in 2019 after totaling 10 DRS during his Gold Glove season, per FanGraphs. His defensive struggles carried over into the National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals.

Still, the veteran remains an impact player at the plate. He proved he can be a difference-maker in the NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves with a .429 batting average and two home runs in five games.

He added another dimension to his game this year as well with a career-high 12 stolen bases.

Ozuna should immediately slide into the middle of the Braves order with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman and provide more help offensively to a squad that finished seventh in the majors in runs scored last year. He can help replace some of the offense lost from Josh Donaldson's exit.

After losing in the NLDS in each of the last two years, this could be a step in the right direction toward making a deeper postseason run in 2020.

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