Matt Holliday had reached base in 45 straight games to open the 2015 season — both a National League and Cardinals franchise record. That ended in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday night at Busch Stadium when he struck out looking on a questionable call and then got tossed …
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Holliday probably deserved to be ejected after all those theatrics, though the shooing motions from umpire Joe West were uncalled for. It was probably going to be Holliday’s final plate appearance of the night anyway.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Braves have signed free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna to a one-year, $18 million contract.
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.