Okay. Here’s the deal. Adam Duvall has slugged .545 with 26 home runs over 98 games the last two seasons with the Braves. The team should bring him back.
It was a bit of a surprise when the Atlanta front office made the decision to non-tender Duvall back in early-December. That move sent him to the free-agent market where his name has been linked to a couple of potential suitors, but nothing too serious has surfaced so far.
Braves fans have waited in anticipation for any development regarding Duvall’s fellow free agent Marcell Ozuna this offseason. Duvall was a cog in the team’s success in 2020. Ozuna was crucial to it, as he finished sixth in N.L. MVP balloting after leading the league with 18 homers and 56 RBI in the pandemic-shortened campaign.
Those numbers have made Ozuna a target of several teams and, though most fans certainly do not want to hear it, likely priced him out of the Braves plans. The brass in Atlanta also made it abundantly clear last season that they did not want Ozuna playing the field at all. The future of the DH spot in the National League still being in flux is another reason the Braves are reticent regarding Ozuna.
Value of Duvall
Back to Duvall, which is where the Braves should now go. It was expected that the 32-year-old slugger would earn at least $4MM and possibly close to $5MM were he to go to arbitration this year. He has undoubtedly earned that. However, given the multi-factor uncertainty clouding the environment of this offseason, the team should be afforded somewhat of a pass. Now, here in late-January, it is time to get on the ball making moves to shore up the roster.
With other realistic outfield targets already landing on other teams – most recently Joc Pederson at time of writing – reupping with Duvall is an increasingly attractive aim, especially in the price range mentioned above. The team has reportedly kept the door open on that possibility.
Playoffs included, Duvall only managed six hits (one postseason HR) over his final 49 at-bats of last year. Most will recall an oblique injury in Game 1 of the NLCS shut him down the rest of the way. None of that should dissuade anybody from Duvall’s worth nor overshadow his 2020 numbers.
Across 209 plate appearances this past summer, Duvall hammered his way to an .833 OPS with 16 roundtrippers. In one historic stretch in early-September, he delivered not one but two three-homer performances in an eight-game span. Additionally, unlike Ozuna, Duvall is not a liability in the field.
Have a day, Adam Duvall. pic.twitter.com/HpSkSlAmC3
— MLB (@MLB) September 10, 2020
Granted, Duvall is a mere .233 career hitter that does strike out quite a bit (career 27.2%). That’s the obvious downside, but simply having another longball threat like him lengthening the lineup alters the entire approach of opposing pitchers.
Raw power such as Duvall brings to the table is not just lying around on every street corner. Given the fact that his can almost assuredly be purchased for a short term at a relatively reasonable price makes him an incredibly logical option. It also fills a need for the Braves in an attempt to bridge the gap to prized prospect Drew Waters.
2 thoughts on “Braves should bring back Adam Duvall”
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No argument from me. His defense and power, plus his determination to play this past season despite having diabetes, make him a positive player to have on the team. That nine RBI game was awesome.
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