White Sox prospect Carlos Rodon gets the win in his first major league start

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White Sox prospect Carlos Rodon made his major league debut on April 21, but as a long reliever. In 6 1/3 innings over three relief appearances, he allowed two runs on nine hits and four walks with four strikeouts.

Rodon started the second game of Saturday’s double-header against the Reds, pitching in the place of the suspended Jeff Samardzija. While it wasn’t a permanent move into the rotation — the White Sox will likely move him back into relief duty — it was still an audition of sorts as the club tries to find out what their first-round pick (third overall) in the 2014 draft can do.

Rodon started off shaky, issuing a leadoff walk to Billy Hamilton. Hamilton, as he is wont to do, stole second. He then took third on a passed ball. Rodon walked Marlon Byrd to put runners on first and third with no outs for Joey Votto. Rodon bounced back, striking out Votto, then getting Todd Frazier to pop-up into a double play.

The 22-year-old lefty got into more trouble in the third, allowing back-to-back one-out singles and a walk before Joey Votto knocked in two runs with another single. But those would be the only two runs Rodon would allow in the outing. He finished with the win, having yielded the two runs on four hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in six innings. It wasn’t the best outing, but it wasn’t the worst either, and Rodon was able to miss some bats and work his way out of a very tough situation. Not bad feather to put in one’s cap after debuting in the majors.

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.