MLB rumors: Braves basically eliminated from Marcell Ozuna chase

Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves. (Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves. (Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Atlanta Braves are not expected to bring back Marcell Ozuna on a second contract in 2021.

Despite leading the National League in home runs and runs batted in a season ago, the Atlanta Braves are not expected to re-sign outfielder/designated hitter Marcell Ozuna this offseason.

Ozuna signed a one-year deal with the Braves after spending a few years with the St. Louis Cardinals. However, he is expected to sign a multi-year deal somewhere this winter. Unfortunately for Braves Country, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports Atlanta is no longer likely to re-sign the 30-year-old slugger. This is not the news Braves fans were hoping for this late into the offseason.

How much should Braves Country panic over potentially losing Marcell Ozuna?

What this comes down to is money and defensive liability. Ozuna will command more than what general manager Alex Anthopoulos can realistically pay him. The other big factor is Ozuna is best served in a designated-hitter role in this Braves lineup. Too bad the DH has not become universal just yet, despite it being so well received by National League fans during the 2020 MLB season.

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So what does this mean for the Braves this offseason? It probably signifies extensions for first baseman Freddie Freeman, shortstop Dansby Swanson and right-hander Mike Soroka. The latter two have entered arbitration with the Braves after being $700,000 apart on their respective deals. Maybe Atlanta can replace Ozuna like he replaced Josh Donaldson in the middle of the lineup?

The Braves are still in need of a left fielder, as well as power bat from the right side of the plate.