3 free agents Braves should sign after missing out on J.T. Realmuto

J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies. (Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies. (Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves
Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves. (Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports) /

Atlanta Braves. 1. 17. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Marcell Ozuna. player. LF/DH

At this point of the offseason, why not just run it back?

The closer we creep towards spring training, the closer we will have the Braves’ biggest offseason question answered: Is Marcell Ozuna coming back or not? Atlanta brought Ozuna in on a one-year deal late last winter to effectively replace Josh Donaldson’s spot in the middle of the batting order. Braves Country was not disappointed, as Ozuna had a career-year at the plate for Atlanta.

Ozuna slashed .338/.431/.636 in all 60 games for the Braves. He led the National League in home runs with 18 and runs batted in with 56. He also led the league in plate appearances with 267 and total bases with 145. He took home his second Silver Slugger and finished inside of the top-10 in NL MVP voting. Atlanta would love to have him back, but Ozuna will not come cheap this winter.

The Braves could not have gotten more value out of that one-year deal from a season ago. They were thinking they would be able to almost fill the void of Donaldson, but instead got way more production than they bargained for. Ozuna was instrumental in the Braves’ run to the 2020 NLCS. Atlanta was one win away from getting back to the World Series for the first time since 1999.

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With the Braves’ championship window open now, it is time for Liberty Media to go all-in on bringing this championship-starved city an elusive title. It has been a very long time since 1995. After finally winning a playoff series for the first time since 2001, the Braves can get back to the NLCS, advance and be congratulated by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on a job well done.

Adding players like Bradley, Ozuna or Puig could be what makes the 2021 Braves champions.