Hunter Pence sits Saturday, ending longest active consecutive starts streak

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The Giants clinched a spot in the postseason on Thursday and they are slated to play in either Pittsburgh or St. Louis for the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday, so manager Bruce Bochy has decided to rest most of his regulars for today’s game against the Padres.

1. Gary Brown – CF
2. Matt Duffy – 2B
3. Brandon Belt – 1B
4. Andrew Susac – C
5. Joaquin Arias – 3B
6. Brandon Crawford – SS
7. Chris Dominguez – LF
8. Juan Perez – RF
9. Jake Peavy – RHP

Noticeably absent from the lineup is Hunter Pence, who will miss his first start since September 23, 2012. This ends a streak of 331 consecutive starts, the longest active streak in the majors. There’s still a chance he could extend his consecutive games played streak (also the longest active in MLB) to 382 if he makes a pinch-hit appearance, but Bochy might just give him the entire day off as the Giants gear up for the postseason.

According to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News, the Braves’ Freddie Freeman now has the longest consecutive starts streak at 166.

Braves sign Marcell Ozuna to one-year, $18 million deal

Marcell Ozuna
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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.