Sunday’s game was barely in the books when the Indians gave Dan Wheeler the old heave-ho this afternoon, designating the 34-year-old right-hander for assignment.
Of course, the team did have some time to think about it down 12-1 to the Red Sox in the eighth and ninth innings today. Wheeler took over with the Indians trailing 6-1 in the seventh and gave up six runs in his inning of work, leaving him with an 8.76 ERA and a 1.95 WHIP in 12 appearances this season.
Wheeler was one of the game’s most underrated setup men in Tampa Bay, but his assortment of slop just hasn’t gotten him very far since he left to sign with Boston prior to last season. A league switch may do him some good. Wheeler has always been homer-prone, but put him in a big ballpark in the NL with the Marlins, Padres or Giants and he might yet prove useful in the middle innings.
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.