Although he is one of the most prized free agents this offseason, Marcell Ozuna is still looking for a place to hang his helmet this upcoming season. In the perfect scenario for many, his landing spot would be back with the Atlanta Braves. But like most things in the middle of the pandemic, Major League Baseball’s free agency has suffered. Which leaves us twiddling our thumbs and waiting for what comes next.
Coming off a season in which the 30-year-old power hitter almost won the National League Triple Crown, one would expect him to have been re-signed or picked up. After all, Ozuna, by all accounts, put together a career-year in Atlanta. He even dropped his agent Melvin Roman and switched to CAA in November in the hopes of enhancing his prospects.
In a shortened 2020 season, Ozuna hit .338 with a .431 OBP and 1.067 OPS, along with 18 home runs. During his eight-year career, he has earned himself a .276 batting average with 21.1 WAR. In addition to his numbers, he is a Gold Glove winner, 2x All-Star, and 2x winner of the Silver Slugger award.
What we do know
According to The Athletic’s MLB reporters, Ozuna would be a great fit for the following teams: Braves (who have acknowledged wanting him to return), Blue Jays, Giants, Mets, and Rockies. Other teams mentioned through the social media grapevine have included the Astros, Mariners, Nationals, and Reds. While each mentioned team could use his offensive skill set, his defensive skills might steer organizations in another direction.
Other factors directed toward Ozuna’s fate include COVID-19 and how Major League Baseball moves forward. Will there be fans in stadiums to help teams look at payroll differently? Will the DH be in full swing in the National League?
While there aren’t many answers on the Ozuna front, Braves fans and writers alike can agree that Ozuna needs to return to Atlanta. With Rob Manfred recently announcing that spring training and the regular season will start on schedule, we shouldn’t have to wait much longer to see if Alex Anthopoulos will finally pull the trigger and sign a star player to a multi-year contract.
Update: It appears Marcell Ozuna’s market is heating up, as the MLB Network’s Jon Morosi is reporting that several teams from both the AL and the NL are interested, with many clubs viewing him as a potential outfielder rather than just a DH.
#HotStove update: Marcell Ozuna’s market has begun to take shape in recent days, with source saying both AL and NL teams are involved despite uncertainty over DH rule across #MLB. Some clubs are comfortable with him as an everyday left fielder. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 13, 2021