Sports

Outfielder Marcell Ozuna comes back to Atlanta Braves on four-year, $64 million contract

The Atlanta Braves are bringing back Marcell Ozuna, signing the slugger to a $64 million, four-year contract.

The Braves declared the arrangement for the 2020 NL grand slam and RBI pioneer on Friday night, under about fourteen days before pitchers and catchers are set to report for spring training. The contract includes a fifth-year club choice for $16 million that would take it to $80 million with a $1 million buyout, which would yield Ozuna $65 million in guaranteed money.

The Braves made the major commitment to Ozuna despite of having no confirmation there will be an assigned hitter in the NL in 2021. He prospered in the part in 2020, helping the Braves win the NL East and come quite close to progressing to the World Series. The Braves lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series in the wake of driving the series 3-1.

Ozuna’s value to the team, in the clubhouse and as arrangement insurance for 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman, was significant to the group’s expectations of winning a fourth consecutive NL East title and making another run for the World Series.

Ozuna, who has played with three groups in the course of the last four seasons, said he was happy to settle down in Atlanta.

“Since I was a kid I would dream about this day,” he wrote on his Instagram account. “The day that I could call a place home. Through ups and downs I’ve maintained my faith in this moment. Today I can officially say I’M BACK!!”

The deal drew prompt endorsement from Freeman, who posted on his Twitter account “love this!! Let’s go!”

Ozuna faced a challenge on himself after the 2019 season, turning down a $17.8 million qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals, and marked a one-year, $18 million arrangement with the Braves in late January. The get paid off abundantly, as the slugger completed 6th in the National League MVP casting a ballot subsequent to driving the class with 18 homers, 56 RBIs and 145 absolute bases. He was third in the NL with a vocation best .338 batting normal and .636 slugging rate.

The wager? The $17.8 million qualifying offer by the Cardinals would’ve addressed 41% of his profession profit to that point.

While considered to some degree a cautious obligation subsequent to enduring a shoulder injury in 2018, Ozuna, who turned 30 in November, saw some activity in left field for the Braves while playing every one of the 60 games during the pandemic-abbreviated season. Nonetheless, the vast majority of his at-bats for Atlanta came as the group’s assigned hitter, opened after Freeman in the setup as the Braves won the NL East title subsequent to setting up the absolute best hostile numbers in group history.

“My power came because I’m healthy,” Ozuna said after the season. “… I just came ready and give my best to my teammates and let’s go play.”

Ozuna would open the season as Atlanta’s extended starter in left field if the DH isn’t restored.

The NL embraced the DH a year ago as a feature of baseball’s wellbeing and security conventions for playing through the pandemic. Ozuna made 39 beginnings as Atlanta’s essential DH.

Major League Baseball proposed renewing the all inclusive DH in talks with the players affiliation a week ago, yet the association dismissed the proposition, which likewise would have deferred the beginning of the normal season and extended the postseason field. It’s as yet conceivable the sides consent to reestablish the DH this year, or during exchanges for an new collective bargaining agreement after this season.

Prior to joining the Braves, Ozuna went through two seasons with the Cardinals, securing Paul Goldschmidt in the setup as they made it back to the end of the season games in 2019. In the course of the last five seasons, remembering the 60-game season for 2020, Ozuna has hit 130 grand slams, making two All-Star Games on the strength of his bat.

Since the beginning of the 2017 season, Ozuna has 357 RBIs, second just to the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (384) and only in front of Freeman (343) among National League players, as per ESPN Stats and Information research.

In eight MLB seasons, he has a .276 batting normal with 166 grand slams, 594 RBIs and 505 runs scored for the Marlins, Cardinals and Braves.