Atlanta Braves: Marcell Ozuna deal could be best Winter signing

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - MAY 18: Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals scores a run in the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 18, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - MAY 18: Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals scores a run in the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 18, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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ST LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 09: Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds first base after hitting a two-run home run. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 09: Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds first base after hitting a two-run home run. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Braves got another player on a single-year contract. There’s always a risk involved in these deals, but the risk of this one being bad is about as low as you can imagine.

Sure, the true positional opening was at third base, but when the Atlanta Braves agreed to disagree on coming to terms with Josh Donaldson, the money was offered to Marcell Ozuna… and he took it.

I had been critical of earlier rumors linking the Braves and Ozuna, but this was chiefly because of the public information that he was seeking a deal in the 4-to-5 year range.

That didn’t seem to make a lot of sense for multiple reasons, among them Ozuna’s defensive decline, offensive stagnation, and the fear that these might accelerate before the end of such a term.

But for 1 year?  That is a quite different story – and so much more so than originally realized.

The History

In terms of the raw numbers, Ozuna has enjoyed 2 excellent major league seasons inserted among 4-1/2 ‘good but not great’ seasons. His huge breakout year was during 2017 while still in Miami. That involved 37 homers, 124 RBI, a .312 batting average and a robust .924 OPS.

The Cardinals throw all kinds of prospects at Miami to bring Ozuna to St. Louis, but only saw flashes of that kind of production during his two year stay under the arch.

In fact – depending on whose WAR calculations you subscribe to – Ozuna was worth more wins in 2017 alone as he did in combined 2018-19 seasons.

There’s a reason for it. His right shoulder.

We’ve got lots of quotes about his journey through this and a pile of stat data to back it up, so let’s go ahead and dig in.

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