Marcell Ozuna bet on himself this season by signing a one year prove-it deal with the Braves. Much like Josh Donaldson last season, that bet paid off. Marcell paced the National League in homeruns. He even garnered some National League MVP consideration. It’s no coincidence that with Marcell behind Freddie Freeman in the lineup, Freddie won the NL MVP. Teams were forced to pitch to Freddie because Ozuna was always on deck, should they pitch around Freeman.
Ozuna’s offense & defense are polar opposites. He’s a legitimate liability in the field. But that shouldn’t matter. The National League is expected to implement the designated hitter either next year or the next. With Marcell as Atlanta’s DH, he only adds to the Braves potency, with zero downside.
The biggest hurdle in bringing him back next season will be his asking price. His 2020 season demands top dollar on the free agency market. Braves General Manager Alex Anthopoulos is known for not overpaying, Josh Donaldson is just the latest example of that. Donaldson signed a lucrative 4-year deal with the Twins prior to this past season, only to miss the majority of the season with injury. Marcell will be looking for a deal in the neighborhood of 4 years/$60 million. Whether Anthopoulos is willing to fork it over will depend on how soon he anticipates the DH coming to the National League & how close he believes Atlanta is to winning a World Series.