Stephen Strasburg set to rejoin Nationals’ rotation Saturday

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No official announcement has been made yet, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Stephen Strasburg is expected to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Nationals’ rotation Saturday against the Rockies.

Strasburg has been out since early July with a strained oblique muscle, but convinced the Nationals that he’s ready to return by racking up 11 strikeouts in 5.2 innings at Triple-A in his most recent minor-league rehab start.

Strasburg was a mess before the injury, posting a 5.16 ERA in 13 starts, but his strikeout, walk, and home run rates all remained fairly close to his career norms. If healthy he could provide a big boost to the suddenly scuffling Nationals.

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.