Marcell Ozuna signed a one-year, $18MM deal with the Braves in January, after an offseason that saw the outfielder connected to multiple teams, including a potential reunion with the Cardinals. Though he turned down the Cards’ one-year, $17.8MM qualifying offer, “if I knew before it was going to happen like this, I would have taken it,” Ozuna told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “But I wanted to make sure I had a chance (at a contract) for my career.”
As it happened, such an acceptable long-term offer didn’t materialize over the early weeks of the offseason, leading Ozuna and his representatives to pivot to the idea of a one-year deal and a quick return to free agency next winter without the burden of the draft pick compensation attached to his services for rejecting the QO. (Players cannot be issued more than one qualifying offer in their career.) Before taking Atlanta’s one-year deal, Ozuna turned several multi-year offers that were reportedly on the table, including a three-year/$50MM offer from the Reds.
There’s some obvious risk in Ozuna’s decision, as injury or a down year would erase his chances at landing another major long-term contract, and he’ll be re-entering the market heading into his age-30 season. But, the outfielder is choosing to bet on himself to deliver a better platform year than in 2019, when he hit a solid but unspectacular .241/.328/.472 with 29 homers over 549 PA for the Cardinals, and missed over a month recovering from a fractured finger.
Ozuna made no secret of his desire to return to St. Louis, and after extensions talks proved fruitless last season, he and his agency (MDR Sports Management) remained in contact with the Cardinals “every time something moved” in his market, Ozuna said.
“If they offer a good offer, I would get it. But they didn’t do it….I thought the Cardinals were going to offer something (early), but they didn’t do that after I rejected the qualifying offer,” Ozuna told Goold. “So, I got patient. And I waited. And I talked to my agent a lot of the time. We were waiting — and then Atlanta was the team that gave me the opportunity for the one year and a good deal. I had to do that.”
There don’t appear to be any hard feelings between Ozuna and the Cardinals, as he is “not disappointed” with how the winter played out. “I feel like they did not give me the opportunity, so I had to walk away. It’s business,” Ozuna said.
It ended up being a pretty quiet offseason for the Cardinals overall, who re-signed Adam Wainwright and Matt Wieters, and signed Kwang-Hyun Kim and Brad Miller but otherwise didn’t pull the trigger on any major moves, despite constant rumors. The club’s one notable trade was a multi-player deal with the Rays that saw the Cardinals actually subtract from their Major League roster, moving Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena to Tampa Bay. At the time of that trade, there was some thought that St. Louis could be making room in its outfield to potentially accommodate Ozuna, but instead, the Cards were simply subtracting from an outfield picture that is still pretty crowded as we approach Opening Day.
It can certainly be argued that Ozuna represents a more proven MLB asset than any of Harrison Bader, Tommy Edman, Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas, Dylan Carlson, and Ozuna also seems like a better option at this point than veteran Dexter Fowler, who is entering his age-34 season and is coming three inconsistent years for the Cards. However, with so many outfielders in the mix, the Cardinals were seemingly more comfortable with counting on some members of this group to emerge than they were in offering Ozuna even a one-year deal.
It’s interesting to speculate on how the shape of the offseason (for the Braves, Cardinals, and the free agent market as a whole) would have been altered had Ozuna indeed taken the Cards’ qualifying offer. There was some thought last fall that he could be a candidate to take the $17.8MM deal, as two other notable would-be free agents — Jose Abreu (White Sox) and Jake Odorizzi (Twins) did with their respective teams. However, given that the Cardinals’ interest in retaining Ozuna seemed lukewarm at best, it could be that St. Louis might not have issued the QO whatsoever if they thought there was a truly serious chance that Ozuna would accept.
dynamite drop in monty
Ernest Hemingway once wrote the world is a good place and worth fighting for. I agree with the second part.
Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
Like Brooks did?
dynamite drop in monty
You smoke crack, don’t ya? Don’t you smoke crack???
I’m pretty sure no one here fires it up as often or as much as you. Do you ever add anything to a conversation besides a dumb ass comment that no one understands or cares about?
That’s actually a quote from the movie ‘Lean on Me’ with Morgan Freeman.
And yes, it was dumb to post it.
Ozuna is going to be huge for the Braves this year. He wants that big contract so you can imagine he’s going in 110%.
Hmm like last year Manfred?
Over his last 1000 abs he has a sub 800 ops sub 330 obp
He will be put in a great position this year, you can say that I guess-
Yeah, the only difference is that Ozuna is a year older now. If the Cardinals wanted him to stay, he would still be on their roster. It seems like a lot of Braves fans are embracing the fantasy that Ozuna will somehow be a beast in the middle of their lineup, but it is simply just wishful thinking. There is a reason he could not get more than a qualifying offer from the Cardinals, (who clearly valued the draft pick more than him), and could barely improve upon it on the open market.
Yeah, the reason is that the Cards were clipping coupons this offseason.
They didn’t spend money on ANYONE
@gravy train. Some of us Braves fans look at hard hit rate and BABIP and see that there is greater production there.
And your favorite team is?
Everyone is a year older, Trout is a year older. He’s more healed from his surgery that people seem to be conveniently forgetting about.
He’s going to wish he took that 3 for $50M offer.
Glad he didn’t. I’m happy the Reds signed NC…even if he walks after a year.
Yeah, well, my grandfather did his wife. So I tend to not take Hemingway seriously.
I really wish the Cards had resigned him, but I can understand that the glut of outfielders on the roster led to the lack of interest.
why. cant get enough ..241
Better than any of the other options….
Hmm. He’s effectively saying that all things being equal, he would rather be in STL than where he is now. And all things are equal considering the deal he ended up taking is the same deal he first turned down pretty much.
That has to be offputting for ATL fans knowing his preference is somewhere else.
Why I mean staying where you are is always easier since you know what you’re gonna get over the unknown. Plus moving costs money.
As a Braves fan it really doesn’t make a difference to me. He’s just holding down the position for one season. Hope he earns a massive contract from somewhere AFTER this year
Yeah, but you are going to have to put up with a year of miserable defense.
Chief Two Hands
His defense really is laughable. I mean that literally. I laughed audibly due to his poor defense last season on multiple plays.
To be fair if we got what we wanted we would have Donaldson right now instead of Ozuna. Actually I’d rather have JD or Bryant or Arenado or well a lot of players over Ozuna. I’ve quite frankly never liked him and his position wasn’t one of need. But oh well. I guess my point is, he can rather be there all he wants, no different than me wishing he was still there too
It is, then he said he turned down a $50M offer with another team so he would accept a deal with ATL for $32M LESS.
And then the chest puffs back out and the ego is lifted.
I found it off putting at first but it’s really not. He enjoyed the Cardinals so he longs for where he was happy. He has no idea what it is to be a Brave. Maybe he will become just as content in Atlanta or maybe he will like more..or maybe he won’t. We shall see.
One thing is for sure, he liked hitting in the post season against the Braves.
Chief Two Hands
Regardless, it wasn’t a very intelligent thing to say, given his current situation as a new player on a team that is new to him with a new fan base. Maybe, when it comes to answering questions publicly, he is simply….new.
Cam? – offputting? People have emotions. That’s a period. Those not greeting a pointienal good player and being off put are those that drink all the time – real heavey sloopy teary vomit smelling wretched beings.
But St. Louis is boring…
Very few cities are boring when you’re a millionaire
Topeka. Barstow. Flint. California City.
Chief Two Hands
Take that back! Barstow is an enchanted place of fabulous wonderful good timey fun!
oakbak? Read? Barstow rocks for young familys wanting a less expensive vacation than The Springs, brah!
A troll here, but come on.
Some people are loud. Stuffs thoughts out, eh?
It has the Arch and its corresponding museum, the Science Center, the MUNY, Six Flags, an excellent zoo, the Blues, now the BattleHawks, etc. It’s not boring at all.
“Ozuna a solid but unspectacular hitting line” That chit is freaking funny! Fortunately for him that he ended the season very hot in order to sustain a solid 241 clip lol
Yes that torrid .150 he hit the last 2 months really helped his average. Clearly you do NOT know more baseball. He was hitting .273 on Aug 27th before cratering at the end
The MLB league wide average BA for 2019 was .252. So your .241 criticism is rather weak. His slugging % was above average, which is infinitely more important.
Oh yeah, lol.
I would think someone who claims to know more baseball is aware how insignificant batting average is. Or maybe the “more” is relative to, I don’t know, a squirrel.
The insignificance of batting average is an opinion. To say it’s “insignificant” is to say it doesn’t matter. It does matter. It may not matter as much as other stats, but it matters.
It does not matter…on it’s own. There are other stats that do a better job of giving you a representation of a player’s offensive output. It matters for how it factors into that, but as a stand alone stat, I’d say it doesn’t matter.
I went with a rock, but a squirrel works.
The Cardinals lineup could have used his “pop”…
Not sad to see him go
Terrible player on a bad team.
Dont you think terrible is an overstatement? If you think Ozuna is terrible than how do you describe players that are worse? Because there are many mlb players less productive than Ozuna.
He’s not a terrible player. A terrible player is Chris Davis. Ozuna is significantly better than Crush
Terrible comment by a terrible person.
No bum and his usual fictional comments. Not one expert or analyst has the Braves as a bad team. Good thing no bum is sooo much smarter than us mortals on earth.
No rational person has the Braves winning a WS. Therefore, they are a bad team.
So what you are saying is there is ONE good team in baseball than?
You are the only irrational one here. Your bitterness that you have been expressing for a couple months now just makes you look childish. Irrational because you thought Bumgarner was the only difference between the Braves winning a world series and not.
When do they get Fowler off the books? I’m trying to plan a party in Wentzville if anyone is interested
I loved the Fowler signing when it happened I’m sad to say. I guess all teams have their bad contracts but he and Cecil are such a drag
Let me know when and where, I’d love to come to a farewell Fowler party!!!!
seth? Fowler would get swacked at that. Human stuff.
Let me know if you need any ideas for your party. We had a huge ‘farewell Sandoval’ blowout in Boston after that 5 year albatross finally came off the books. At least you guys got something out of Fowler during his tenure!
2 more years, but right now the Cardinals still need him as the most qualified outfielder they have right now regardless of how much he’s being overpaid.
QO now just bleeps FAs to be. The old B QO was the way to go. Less penalties.
You have to respect a guy betting on himself whose numbers have been in decline and is about to turn 30 years old, yet he feels confident enough in himself to deliver a big year and end up making more than the $50M he was offered by the Reds over the next 3 seasons. Hopefully for his sake he is able to deliver in 2020 and secure himself a 3-4 year deal at $18M+ / year level. Not sure if he’ll be able to do so but you have to respect his confidence (unless your a Reds fan).
Yes, everyone must respect the guy that just said he wished he had taken the qualifying offer from the Cardinals. No one has any choice but to respect him.
Absolutely! Unlike most of the MLB ‘robots’, he answered the question truthfully. Had he known his market wouldn’t materialize in the way his agents convinced him it would, he’d rather have stayed in St. Louis (a place and team he obviously liked) rather than uproot his family and move to a new city for one year. He’s not disrespecting Atlanta in any way; he’s just saying how much he enjoyed St Louis and had he known how the offseason would play out that he would have accepted the QO to keep him and his family in a familiar place they called home. I have zero problems with this. Unless Atlanta resigns him, his kids are going to be in 3 different school systems in 3 years; that’s tough on a family. While these guys make ridiculous money, they are still humans like the rest of us and moving all over the country takes a toll on these guys as it would you and me.
How many baseball players actually live in the cities they play? Especially those with kids?
Usually they live someplace (warm weather), then have a condo or apartment in the city they play in.
Dorthy? The worse is that he retires with double digit MILLIONS!
Technically, he’s not in decline. He’s just had one career year that he’s never come close to matching. His 2018 and 2019 numbers are pretty well in line with the rest of his career save for that big 2017.
Mets fans trolling the hell out of this. Alright $18mm of Ozuna will out perform Cespedes and that “all-star” closer. Spending wise, spending dumb. Difference dumb dumb’s.
I really don’t understand why people are confused this.
Why would you give an average guy $18 million when you literally have half a dozen guys that will be almost as good (in a worst case scenario) or be much better, and all for minimum?
No, they don’t! Ozuna is well above average, and except for maybe Edman (who is also insurance for Carpenter), Ozuna right now is much better than any outfielder the Cardinals currently have. Do you really expect the likes of Thomas or O’Neill (if the latter were still eligible) to challenge for 2020 NL Rookie of the Year? Do you expect Bader’s bat to rebound even above the decent offensive showing he had in limited time in 2018? Meanwhile, Carlson is still at least a couple months away from being ready, and who knows if he’ll hit right away upon getting the call.
Showed up fat and slow last year to start a contract year. Obviously didn’t put much work in on the defensive side of the ball outside of gameplay. A shame because his natural gifts are carrying him to above average results with little or no other work being put in. If he actually put the work in he could be a superstar.
Fowler is NOT coming off of 3 inconsistent years. His first year was good when he was healthy, but he unfortunately had 3 different stints on the disabled list. His second year was terrible, no doubt about that, and it was capped off by a freak injury. However, last year he was healthy and decently productive, putting up about a league average performance. So he’s had one injury-plagued year, one bad year, and one decent year. Overall, as sad as it is, he’s still the least questionable outfielder the Cardinals have right now.
He had 491 plate appearances during his first year. I would call that a somewhat shortened season but injury plagued is a over stated.