The SF Giants are one of six teams that have reportedly made offers to free-agent Marcell Ozuna.
According to a report by Mike Rodriguez of Mike Rodriguez TV, six MLB teams have made offers to free-agent Marcell Ozuna: the Mets, SF Giants, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Nationals, and Atlanta. The Dodgers and Yankees have also shown interest. Per the report, Ozuna is expected to receive a contract lasting between four and six years.
This is not the first time Ozuna has been tied to the Giants. After arguing the Giants should make a run at the power hitter earlier this offseason, a report revealed the team was interested in Ozuna if the National League permanently adopted the designated hitter. However, the league has made no public signals that will be the case. Of course, as the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic worsen throughout the United States, franchises may be expecting the rules implemented in 2020 to carry over to 2021.
Last season, Ozuna was one of the best players in baseball. As Atlanta’s primary designated hitter (although he played 21 games in the outfield), he led the league in home runs (18), runs batted in (56), and total bases (145). Finishing sixth in the National League Most Valuable Player award race, the 30-year old seemed poised for a big payday.
After declining a qualifying offer last offseason in search of a multi-year deal, a signing team will not have to sacrifice draft capital for Ozuna. With a Giants front office that clearly values prospects, that would seem like another reason they may be more inclined to enter the bidding for Ozuna over other top free agents.
MLB Trade Rumors predicted Ozuna would sign a four-year deal worth $72 million. Thus far, offseason spending has consistently outpaced predictions. However, the market has also been moving incredibly slow, with the Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, and New York Mets the only teams making any substantial additions thus far. As the most aggressive teams slow their spending, the market could crater.
Once an above-average defender, a shoulder surgery in 2018 alongside declining speed have taken their toll on his abilities. Ozuna has graded below-average per Outs Above Average in the outfield over recent years but is far from unplayable. Atlanta struggled to settle on a consistent outfield alignment, but with several premium defensive players, it made sense to shift Ozuna to the DH spot. With that said, he’s a competent left fielder capable of playing that spot every day in San Francisco if necessary.
Even if the National League did not adopt the designated hitter next season, though, it’s widely accepted that it will be made permanent the following year after collective bargaining negotiations. Given the long-term guarantees in any contract for Ozuna, the Giants front office may be thinking about their lineup in 2022 and 2023 more than 2021.
In the short term, signing Marcell Ozuna would give the SF Giants one of the deepest lineups in baseball. While it seems impossible for them to catch the Padres or Dodgers next season, adding a player like Ozuna to the middle of the lineup could go a long way toward matching their rivals’ offensive production.