That regular season was why the Cardinals were willing to let him leave, not that they're exactly a-brim with stellar outfielders. But, as Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors noted, more advanced analytics were kinder. Wrote Dierkes: "Ozuna's average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage were both in the 93rd percentile or better this year, suggesting that his current skill level will produce better results."
If those results aren’t forthcoming, the Braves are committed to nothing beyond the one-time outlay of $18 million. (Besides, Cristian Pache and/or Drew Waters should be ready soon.) This has become the Alex Anthopoulos way -- don’t forget Cole Hamels, signed for one season at $18 million -- over his two-plus years as general manager, and it has its advantages. One-year contracts never hurt much.
The $23 million for Donaldson was money well spent – almost too well spent, given that it enabled him to resurrect his career and then go make it rain in Minnesota. The $13 million for 4-1/2 months of Keuchel was OK, and the $2 million for Brian McCann’s farewell tour wasn’t wasteful. That said, we wonder if it’s possible to sustain a contending team over time by filling key positions with one-year deals. It leaves you dependent on the market, and the market, as we just saw with Donaldson, doesn’t always bend your way.
On the other hand, the Braves have Acuna and Ozzie Albies under long-term contracts, both below market value. That should leave money to spend on an annual basis. But what happens when it’s time to pay Mike Soroka or Max Fried or possibly Dansby Swanson? Will one-year signings still be the currency of the realm in Braves Country?
Enough of that, though. What matters tonight is that the Braves, after suffering a major reversal, just played a deft bit of catch-up ball, and that’s just another reason to have faith in AA the GM. His Plan A for this winter didn’t work. Plan B was named Marcell Ozuna, and he’s now a Brave.