Braves: Cheaper contingency plans if Marcell Ozuna walks

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If you missed my dream offseason plan, re-signing Marcell Ozuna is at the top of my list. Chase gave us insight into what an Ozuna contract could look like, and Alex Anthopoulos has made it clear the Braves want him back. However, if a big spender like the Yankees swoops in and makes a Godfather offer, where could the Braves turn as a contingency plan? With the market being as strange as it’s going to be this offseason, anything can happen. Let me make this perfectly clear — anyone on this list is a likely step down from Marcell, but the Braves have been known not to overpay and will surely be looking to get the best bang for their buck.


Michael Brantley

2020 Stats: .300/.364/.476/.840, 15 2B, 5 HR, 22 RBI (46 Games)

Brantley and the Braves have been connected before, and his play didn’t drop off after the Astros were caught cheating. His power has slowed down a tad, and injuries nagged him a little last season, but he’s the best Plan B. He won’t be cheap, but he will cost significantly less than Marcell Ozuna. 

Yoenis Cespedes

2018 Stats: .262/.325/.496/.821, 6 2B, 9 HR, 29 RBI (28 Games)

Not the biggest advocate of signing Cespedes, but on a cheap deal — I would consider him. Let me emphasize cheap. He opted out after eight games in 2020 and was struggling with injuries beforehand. He missed all of 2019, most of 2018, and exactly half of 2017. Let me emphasize again — CHEAP.

Nelson Cruz

2020 Stats: .303/.397/.595/.992, 6 2B, 16 HR, 33 RBI (53 Games)

Cruz continues to be the ageless wonder. Excluding the COVID shortened season in which he hit 16 bombs in 53 games, Nelson hasn’t hit under 37 HRs since 2014 — he was 34 then. He’s a pure DH, so if the DH isn’t here to stay in the NL, he’s off the table. However, I’d give him a fat 1-year deal as a mercenary to pepper the Chop House and left-field bleachers with bombs. Since 2009, he’s crushed 395 HRs. That’ll play; he’s shown no signs of slowing down.

Yasiel Puig

2019 Stats: .267/.327/.458/.785, 30 2B, 24 HR, 84 RBI (149 Games)

Throughout the whole season, I was curious why Atlanta never considered a Puig reunion after his original contract fell through. I’d be happy to get him back; he would have been a big help in the playoffs with Nick Markakis’ struggles and Adam Duvall’s injury.

*NOTE — Yasiel Puig has pending legal troubles. This is obviously contingent on the outcome of his case.

Cristian Pache & Drew Waters

Atlanta would like to manipulate the clock with these two, and if Ender Inciarte isn’t traded, he can be a stopgap before cutting him. They’re very exciting, and Pache is the readiest of the two. Duvall, Inciarte, and Acuña can tread water until then.

Photo: Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire

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