Braves Report: Marcell Ozuna will be a priority if Donaldson walks

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As first reported by MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Braves have a plan B if they lose out on the Josh Donaldson sweepstakes.

 

Alex Anthopoulos isn’t the type to forecast his next move, but this makes a lot of sense. Even if Austin Riley takes over at 3rd, you have to think this front office already has this money set aside for a power bat in the middle of the order (no matter what position). Ozuna torched the Braves in the playoffs, and there’s a need in left field for now if Riley moves to the hot corner. Ozuna would be an intriguing signing. He’ll probably receive a fairly large 2-3 year deal, and at age 29, it’s not like he’s going to turn sour because of age. But his numbers are what concern me. Since his career-best season in 2017, he’s regressed pretty steadily

 

2017: .312/.376/.548/.924, 37 HR, 124 RBI, Silver Slugger & Gold Glove Winner

2018: .280/.325/.433/.758, 23 HR, 88 RBI

2019: .241/.328/.472/.800, 29 HR, 89 RBI, 12 SB (Career High)

 

Not included in those 2019 numbers is the .429 average and 2 HRs he put up against Atlanta in the playoffs. He’s missed a handful of games here and there, but there’s no super alarming injury history. I wouldn’t be too upset if the Braves signed Ozuna on a reasonable two-year deal, but anything else is entering dangerous territory. The problem with that is, Morosi also reports Ozuna is looking for a four-year contract, possibly even longer.

You have to think AA’s strategy is to snag a power bat to take the pressure off of Riley. If he’s not cutting it, you can evaluate your options at the trade deadline. Let’s hope Josh Donaldson re-signs, and we don’t have to worry about Plan B, but with so many teams looking for a third baseman, it might take a risky deal to bring him back.

 

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