Marcel Ozuna is in a very interesting place going into this free agency as the MLB continues to fail at running a league properly. They announced yesterday that teams shouldnoperate as if the universal DH will not be in play for the 2021 season. They’re not saying it is a guarantee that there will not be a DH, but they want NL teams to plan for it. I mean… what the heck are they doing? Whatever it is, that’s for a different article. This makes Ozuna’s decision on where he will play next interesting because he is far from a premier outfielder. Once upon a time, he won a gold glove in left field for the Marlins, but Ozuna is much stronger and less agile than he was in his younger days. NL teams may want to give him a multi year deal, let him play the outfield this year, then move him to DH after this season. Regardless of where he goes, my guess is that he is going to get PAID. Ozuna got hot this year and never cooled down. It was ridiculous to watch. He ended up playing in all 60 games, slashing .338/.431/.636 with 18 homeruns (which led the NL), 56 RBI’s (also led the NL), and a 175 OPS+. I mean my goodness he dominated this year. The Braves yet again get extreme production out of a low-risk, one year contract. Now, however, Ozuna has set himself up to secure the bag.
The Case to Bring Him Back
After reading those stats, you may think, of course the Braves want to bring him back, he has to be their best player. The Braves, however, are spoiled with riches as Ozuna wasn’t even the best hitter on the team, as his teammate Freddie Freeman won the NL MVP. Not to mention, they have potentially the most promising player in baseball in Ronald Acuna Jr, as well as budding superstar Ozzie Albies. Freeman is set to be a free agent in 2022 and Albies and Acuna are on team friendly deals, so the Braves most likely do have the cap to pull off the re-signing. I think if they want a secure number 4 hitter in their lineup for the next 3-5 years, he would be a great signing. The problem with signing him is that they need pitching help, both in the bullpen and in the rotation, so they’d be using money they could put towards their bigger holes to make their already strong lineup even better. I think they will definitely consider bringing him back as he had such an impact on their success this year.
The Perfect Fits
The Blue Jays seem to be in the market for every single free agent available. It looks like they are trying to capatalize on a stacked free agent class and put great players around their already great core. I think Ozuna would be great, not just because he’s a fantastic player but also because he could be a great mentor to the young guys they have. Ozuna works hard and consistently produces on the field, so I think he could truly help the Blue Jays on and off the field. Other than that however, the Blue Jays need some help in the lineup. I’m not sure we can expect the same production out of Teoscar Hernandez, especially after his injury. Having another big bat in the lineup would be extremely helpful to the Jays in taking down the Rays and the Yankees. I think Ozuna to the Blue Jays is a match made in heaven.
The Astros are going to be an extremely interesting team to watch in the next few offseasons. I am not sure if players will want to play there because of what has happened the past year there with their cheating scandal. With that being said, I am assuming if they offer more money than other teams, there won’t be too much bias on the player’s side. I think Ozuna fits the Astros extremely well. They are likely losing George Springer and Michael Brantley, so they certainly need any help they can get in the outfield and in the lineup. Ozuna isn’t amazing in the field but he is for sure serviceable, so the Astros would be able to use him there as well as DH when needed. I think that stadium would help Ozuna absolutely MASH as well. Ozuna’s raw power and the cheap left field wall would be a must watch every night event.
The Good Fits
The Rockies are in an interesting place as both Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado are on the trading block. I imagine they will trade at least one of them. What’s a great way to replace that super expensive talent? Replace it with slightly less expensive talent! All jokes aside, Marcell Ozuna may look like Barry Bonds in Coors Stadium. I cannot even imagine his stat line if he played a full 162 in that stadium. The Rockies actually were in the playoff conversation for a lot of the Covid season, so I could see them trying to offload upcoming free agents while also trying to produce on the field. Ozuna seems to be a good fit for the Rockies as he would be able to hit 100 homeruns and potentially drive in 300 runs while playing there.
This would be an unbelievable first move for Kim Ng’s front office. Bringing the Bear back to Miami would put asses into the seats (bunt most likely not) in Miami. The Marlins shocked the world last year as they stormed into the playoffs and even won a series against the Cubs with their extremely young roster. I think Ozuna could hop right back into that lineup and mash again like he did in the past. I don’t know what the Marlins budget is, but man they could really use a power bat like Ozuna who could also hit for average. Like the Blue Jays, he would be great at helping their young talent develop into stars and help the Marlins go from the biggest laughing stock in sports into a really competitive team with a great culture. Will the Marlins even consider bringing him back? I don’t know but I sure would love to see the reunion happen.
The Weird Fits
Man the Red Sox STUNK last year. With that being said, they are still the Big bad Red Sox, as much as Yankee fans don’t want to admit it. Chaim Bloom still has a large budget to bring this team back to the promised land. I think Ozuna would be a great start at forgetting about what happened to the 2020 Red Sox. Like with Minute Maid Park in Houston, I think Ozuna and the Green Monster would be best friends. Ozuna could simply pop the ball up the left field line and watch it go every single night. I think he’d be a great talent to bring into Boston, who can use anything they can get to be perfectly honest. JD and Ozuna would likely have to figure out a system of who would DH and who would play the outfield, which is what makes it a weird fit. But can you imagine those two hitting next to each other in a lineup? Tater Tot City.
The Mets were reported to be interested in Ozuna. I’d imagine the news about the DH probably changed that interest a lot, but if they could sign him for multiple years and have him DH after this upcoming season, it could still work out. The Mets lineup certainly was not their problem last year, but one huge problem they had was clutch hitting and hitting with runners in scoring position. What would help that problem enormously? A one Mr. Marcell Ozuna. Adding him to that lineup would make them dangerous, as they would have a mix of contact hitters and homerun sluggers come together to try and scrape one or maybe two runs across the board to get Degrom a win. I think the Ozuna signing would be extremely weird for the Mets, but you can’t look me in the face and tell me adding him does not make the team better. They would also free up a lot of room to make trades for player they don’t necessarily need anymore if they brought Marcell in. It would be strange but hey, maybe Steve Cohen knows something we don’t.
My final prediction comes from one of the perfect fits, as I don’t see how this team could miss the opportunity to bring Ozuna in.
Prediction: Ozuna heads up north and signs with the Blue Jays for 4 years $100 million.
Thank you for coming along on this journey with me to break down the ever-so-interesting Marcell Ozuna. Where he plays, great stat lines shall follow.