Following Josh Donaldson’s decision to sign with the Twins, the Braves didn’t hesitate, immediately pivoting to Marcell Ozuna, who they signed on a shockingly team-friendly deal worth $18 million for one year. It was later reported by Jon Heyman that Ozuna turned down several multi-year offers to take a “prove-it” contract with a contending team like the Braves. Now, we know what at least one of those potential deals looked like.
Reds offered Marcell Ozuna 50M for 3 years, but he opted for the 18M for 1 with Braves, in effect betting on himself
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 4, 2020
Of course, once Ozuna decided to sign with the Braves, the Reds went on to lock up Nick Castellanos to a four-year, $64 million contract, which shows you why Ozuna might have wanted to bet on himself.
According to nearly every advanced-metric, Ozuna has been a significantly better player than Castellanos over their careers. But after a couple of down seasons with the Cardinals (for his standards), he didn’t seem to receive offers in the same stratosphere as Castellanos, who is coming off the best half-season of baseball in his life. For that reason, he took a one-year contract in a situation he can thrive, boosting his value before hitting free agency again next offseason at 30 years of age. It worked for Josh Donaldson, and it may end up allowing Ozuna to make a boatload of more money.