With Marcell Ozuna now in the fold, the Atlanta Braves can now focus on rounding out the rest of the roster. A quick glance reveals a need at catcher, the bench and possibly the need for a veteran reliever. We will see how all of that plays out over the next couple of weeks in the lead up to camp opening at North Port.
Thanks to everyone who sent in questions for this week’s mailbag. We will do this again after camp opens.
Does anyone know why the Braves wouldn’t have paid $10 mill or less for 1 year for either Joc Pederson or Eddie Rosario?
In a word no. Recent reports suggested that Atlanta had interest in both and that Pederson may have had interest in the Braves. Ozuna was the top priority and since the DH hasn’t been implemented, there wouldn’t have been room for another starting caliber outfielder.
With a significantly reduced international bonus pool, why would the Braves spend it almost all on 1 player instead of 2 or 3 and spread their risk?
My understanding on this is that there is usually a wide gap in talent. Sure there is more risk involved, but a greater chance to land an impact guy. I expect Ambioris Tavarez to show up on Braves organizational prospect lists by mid-season.
Thoughts on our catching tandem at this point? The later it gets, the more I believe we are filling the backup position by a rotation of WC and AJ…. right? There are some vets out there still, but doesn’t it seem like they may want to save some $$ over a vet even if the contract is 1.5-2 Mill?
My thinking is that William Contreras will begin the season at Gwinnett and will be there for most of the 2021 season. I suppose Alex Jackson could have a chance to compete for the back up spot behind Travis d’Arnaud, but my guess is that Atlanta brings in a veteran catcher like Tyler Flowers.
Will Braves address Freeman contract extension and some others soon?
After listening to Alex Anthopoulos’ comments from Saturday, it sounds as if Freeman’s contract is up next. I will be really surprised if a deal isn’t completed by the end of spring training. Another contract situation to watch is manager Brian Snitker who is also entering the final year of his deal. I expect both of those items to get taken care of.
What about Jonathan Villar as the final bench piece as a utility player?
I think Villar would fit well as a utility bench piece, but he may look for an opportunity where he would have a much bigger role. Rumors are that he is in talks with the Reds. On this note, with no DH, I wonder if a guy like Adam Duvall would be interested in returning since it would be in much more of a reduced role. My guess is, the Braves will be paying attention to players that get released during the spring as options to round out their bench.
Is Ozuna’s arm still terrible or just a bad fielder period?
Great question. I think it is safe to say that Ozuna is no longer an above average fielder but opinions vary on just how bad he is. For me, the arm is the biggest concern as recent shoulder surgery seems to have sapped a lot of his arm strength. Ozuna played a total of 21 games in the outfield in 2020 which is a very small sample. Per FanGraphs, he was worth minus-2 Defensive Runs Saved and had a UZR/150 of minus-16.1. Now those numbers are skewed slightly because of two starts that Ozuna made in right field. If you look at his numbers exclusively as a left fielder, he had zero Defensive Runs Saved and a UZR/150 of minus-5.8. Baseball Savant had Ozuna at minus-1 Outs Above Average overall for 2020.
He doesn’t pass the eye test as being a great defender, but the offense will hopefully offset that enough in 2021. It was forgotten, but the Braves signed Ozuna with the intention of playing him in left in 2020 long before the Universal DH was implemented.