Interesting lineup note for the Rangers today, as rookie Joey Gallo is starting in center field against the Blue Jays. Let’s just say that he doesn’t have much in the way of experience at the position…
Gallo has appeared in 13 games in left field this season between the majors and the minors, but otherwise he has exclusively played third base. However, he’s getting the nod over the struggling Leonys Martin in center field this afternoon.
Adrian Beltre returned from his thumb injury this week and the Rangers are close to getting Josh Hamilton and Delino DeShields, Jr. back from the disabled list, so Gallo could be headed down to the minors soon. The 21-year-old is batting .224/.306/.461 with five home runs and 10 RBI over his first 22 games in the majors. He has struck out in 42.4 percent of his plate appearances.
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.