Reports: Orioles interested in Justin Upton, Carlos Gomez

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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Orioles have expressed interest in Padres outfielder Justin Upton. Morosi’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, added that they’ve also inquired on Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez.

While the Orioles have gotten terrific production out of Adam Jones in center field, they’ve gotten very little from the corners. They have been using Chris Davis in right field while Nolan Reimold, David Lough, and Travis Snider have shared time in left. The Orioles’ aggregate .628 OPS out of left field is third-worst in the American League, though their Davis-inspired .760 OPS is seventh-best.

Upton, 27, can become a free agent after the season and is owed only the remainder of his $14.5 million salary for the 2015 season. He exited Sunday’s game with tightness in his lower back, per MLB.com’s Corey Brock, but it sounds like a minor issue. He entered play Sunday batting .252/.331/.426 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI.

Gomez, 29, is signed through 2016. He’s owed the remainder of $8 million for this season and $9 million next season. He entered play Sunday hitting .267/.322/.439 with eight home runs and 41 RBI.

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.