After losing out on several of their reported top bullpen targets the Red Sox “are discussing a possible deal” with Dan Wheeler, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
Keeping the ball in the ballpark has been Wheeler’s weakness, with 28 homers allowed in 172 innings over the past three seasons, but he still managed ERAs of 3.12, 3.28, and 3.35 in that time thanks to a 144/47 K/BB ratio.
That includes a 46/16 K/BB ratio and .207 opponents’ batting average in 48 innings this year, which made it surprising that the Rays declined to exercise their $4 million option on the 32-year-old right-hander and then declined to offer the Type A free agent arbitration. He has a 3.31 ERA in 392 innings since 2005, including a sub-3.50 mark in five of six seasons.
The Braves have announced on Tuesday evening the signing of free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that it’s a one-year contract for $18 million.
Ozuna, 29, hit .241/.328/.472 with 29 home runs, 89 RBI, 80 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 549 plate appearances for the Cardinals last season. He’s been consistently above-average in each of the past four seasons, which also included a career year in 2017 in which he was worth 6.1 WAR, per Baseball Reference.
It is surprising that Ozuna, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, had to settle for a one-year deal. The Braves are happy he did as he will help make up for some of the offense lost when third baseman Josh Donaldson became a free agent and ultimately signed with the Twins. Ozuna can become a free agent again after the 2020 season but won’t have qualifying offer compensation attached to him, part of the reason why his market may have been slow to develop.
Along with Ozuna, the Braves have signed in free agency this offseason reliever Will Smith, starter Cole Hamels, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. They re-signed relievers Chris Martin and Darren O'Day, catcher Tyler Flowers, infielder Adeiny Hechavarría, and outfielder Nick Markakis.