Jon Heyman of CBS Sports suggests that the Yankees seem unlikely to make a $15.3 million qualifying offer to starter Hiroki Kuroda. He adds that they are, however, expected to make a qualifying offer to closer David Robertson.
Kuroda, 39, finished the regular season with his highest ERA in six years, though it was still a respectable 3.71 along. He had a 146/35 K/BB ratio in 199 innings to go along with it. Though the right-hander is as consistent as they come, he turns 40 in February and has been gradually losing velocity on his fastball.
Robertson, 29, did an admirable job taking over Mariano Rivera’s role as the Yankees’ closer. He saved 39 games with a 3.08 ERA and a 96/23 K/BB ratio in 64 1/3 innings. If the Yankees didn’t make him a qualifying offer, they would risk losing out on draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere.
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.