With free agency coming to an end and Nolan Arenado off the trade block, the Braves are running out of options. Marcell Ozuna is still available, and if Atlanta were able to lock him up, they’d have to view this offseason as a success. However, if this report out of the Dominican Republic is true, it is difficult to imagine they get a deal done. According to Pio Deportes, Ozuna is hopeful for a four-year contract in the $22-25 million AAV range.
A source close to the negotiation informed Pio Deportes that Marcell Ozuna aspires to a contract of 4 or more years and from US$22 to US$25 million per season.
Tampa Bay Rays, Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins are in negotiations with the Dominican. #PioDeportes pic.twitter.com/L3pO8P0nP8
— PIO DEPORTES (@piodeportes) February 2, 2021
That would put the total of Ozuna’s contract in between $88-$100 million. Given there is no guarantee that the DH will be in the NL next season, it seems unlikely the Braves will go that far unless something changes. Even still, Anthopoulos might not be able to scrounge up that kind of money to bring back The Big Bear.
As far as the legitimacy of this report, I would say it is probably true. I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t think it carried some weight. Pio Deportes reported about a month ago that the Padres and Fernando Tatis Jr. were negotiating a ten-year mega-deal. Not long after, Jon Heyman confirmed the report.
The Padres are working on a potential extension with superstar SS Fernando Tatis Jr. Uncertain how far things have progressed but the deal is expected to be in 10-year range, if completed. Pio Deportes suggested the talk is about $320M and 11 years. @KleinschmidtJD also on this.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 9, 2021
On top of that, $22-25 million AAV is right where I would expect Ozuna’s market to be after he nearly won the NL Triple Crown in 2020. Before he inked a one-year contract with the Braves last offseason, he was reportedly looking for a four-year deal in the $60-70 million range. Given the year he had, he definitely should be asking for more.
It’s unfortunate that it has come down to this, but it really is beginning to look like the final decision will be based on whether the MLBPA and MLB can come to an agreement and bring the DH to the NL. If they can’t, it feels like there is a great chance that Ozuna is playing in another uniform next season, leaving the Braves with a significantly worse roster than they had in 2020. Fans aren’t going to like that after they finished just a couple of innings shy of a World Series berth.
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