Orioles sign suspended reliever Chris Perez

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Veteran reliever Chris Perez hasn’t been very good for a couple years and was recently suspended 50 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse, but Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports that the Orioles have signed him to a minor-league deal anyway.

Perez was suspended while not under contract to a team, so that means whenever he joins a roster within the Orioles organization he’ll begin serving his 50 games. In other words, he won’t even be eligible to pitch in games regardless of the level until September.

Perez was an All-Star closer for the Indians in 2011 and 2012, but since then he has a 4.31 ERA with 46 walks in 100 innings. He was arrested in 2013, along with his wife, after having a package of marijuana delivered in their dog’s name, so that perhaps provides some clues as to the undisclosed “drug of abuse” that got Perez suspended.

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.