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Yoenis Cespedes likely to bat second for Mets

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As MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has been batting second in the Mets’ lineup this season because new manager Mickey Callaway believes that his team’s best hitters should receive the most at-bats.

Cespedes has batted second in just 39 games out of 788 in his career, though he’s had good production — batting .289/.328/.624 with 15 home runs and 34 RBI in 183 plate appearances. Cespedes has also performed well this spring, launching three home runs in 23 at-bats across eight games.

DiComo suggests that Cespedes will bat second at least against right-handed pitchers with a left-handed hitter like Brandon Nimmo or Asdrubal Cabrera (switch) leading off. DiComo also suggests the Mets may bat their pitcher eighth as well.

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.