Denard Span’s return means the Nationals finally have their projected Opening Day lineup

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Center fielder Denard Span is off the disabled list after missing the past six weeks with a lower back injury and for the first time all season the Nationals have their planned Opening Day starting lineup available for a game.

Here’s the lineup it took 124 games for the Nationals to have together and healthy:

C – Wilson Ramos
1B – Ryan Zimmerman
2B – Anthony Rendon
3B – Yunel Escobar
SS – Ian Desmond
LF – Jayson Werth
CF – Denard Span
RF – Bryce Harper

That’s a pretty good group, which is a big part of why so many preseason projections had the Nationals running away with the NL East. Instead they’re 62-61 and 5.5 games behind the Mets

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.