The Atlanta Braves signed outfielder Marcell Ozuna from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to a one year deal worth $18 million on Tuesday according to Fox Sports. Ozuna will be joining his third Major League Baseball team. He played his first five seasons with the Miami Marlins from 2013 to 2017 and then the last two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 2019 with St. Louis, Ozuna batted .241 with 29 home runs and 89 runs batted in during 485 at bats. In 130 games and 549 plate appearances last season, Osuna scored 80 runs and had 117 hits, 23 doubles, one triple, 12 stolen bases, a .328 on base percentage, .472 slugging percentage, 229 total bases and one sacrifice fly.
A two-time all-star with the Marlins in 2016 and 2017, Ozuna won a gold glove and silver slugger award with Miami in 2017. That season he only committed five errors in 152 games and was the best offensive player at left field in the National League that year too. Ozuna batted .312 in 2017 with 37 home runs and 124 runs batted in (all career highs).
It is fair to say the Cardinals might have expected a little bit more from Ozuna than what they got. Ozuna came to the Cardinals on a one year contract worth $9 million in 2018, but his statistical lines actually decreased in two seasons with St. Louis. His batting average dropped 32 points in his first year with the Cardinals and again by another 39 points in his second season.
The Braves will definitely be hoping a change of scenery will help in Ozuna’s overall offensive production. The franchise elected to go after Ozuna this week rather than third baseman Josh Donaldson of Pensacola, FL, who they lost to the Minnesota Twins in free agency.
The addition of Ozuna means there will probably be less playing time for Braves outfielder Nick Markakis of Glen Cove, NY. Ender Inciarte of Maracaibo, Venezuela is expected to be the Braves everyday center fielder and rising star Ronald Acuna Jr. of La Guaira, Venezuela is expected to be the Braves everyday right fielder.
With the loss of Ozuna, expect Canadian Tyler O’Neill of Burnaby, British Columbia to see regular playing time in left field with the Cardinals. Last season in St. Louis, he batted .262 with five home runs and 16 runs batted in.