Perhaps one of the biggest and most slept-on free agent signings of the 2020 offseason was the Atlanta Braves signing of outfielder Marcell Ozuna. The “Big Bear” signed a one-year, $18 million contract to come to Atlanta in late January. This contract was very similar to the one-year, $23 million that brought third baseman Josh Donaldson to Atlanta for the 2019 season. This contract helped Donaldson have a rejuvenated season in Atlanta and in result, he signed a mega 4-year, $92 million deal with the Twins this offseason. That poses the question after the season that Ozuna has had this year with the Braves: will The Big Bear stay or will he go?
There is no denying it, Ozuna has had a HUGE season to this point. Yes, it is a 60-game season. Yes, there are some players who opted out. Yes, baseball games are being played under weird rules. The National League has a designated hitter for the first time in the history of baseball. Doubleheaders are only seven innings a piece. In extra innings, a runner starts on second. However, despite all of this, Marcell Ozuna is still having a HUGE season. Through 50 games, Ozuna has a .314 batting average, 14 home runs, 44 runs batted in and a 1.5 WAR. To give context here, if the MLB was playing a 162-game season this season, Ozuna would be on pace to hit 45 home runs and 143 RBIs. In other words, Ozuna is having a HUGE season. However, is this good or bad for Braves fans? Yes, obviously it is good that Ozuna is producing for Atlanta, unless you are not a Braves fan. Yes, Ozuna is contributing to the Braves second seed in the National League right now. Yes, he is a sleeper for NL MVP right now. However, the way he is playing could lead to his departure for a bigger contract, a better team and the single-season wonder of the Big Bear will fall into cracks of other great remarkable seasons.
The Braves and the city of Atlanta needs Marcell Ozuna, and Marcell Ozuna needs us. He needs the fans. He needs the Braves. He needs the money. He needs the recognition from the rest of the league right now. However, how much longer will this last? The Braves need to pursue the Big Bear this offseason and give him a big pay day.