Marcell Ozuna signs one-year, $18 million deal with Braves

Marcell Ozuna hit .241 with an .800 OPS and 29 home runs for the Cardinals in 2019.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Any possibility of free-agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna returning to the St. Louis Cardinals was quashed on Tuesday night, as the Atlanta Braves announced that they have signed him to a one-year, $18 million contract.

Ozuna, 29, who was acquired from the Miami Marlins for four prospects in December 2017, had two solid seasons in St. Louis but was unable to replicate his production with the Marlins.

Acquiring him fresh off a 2017 campaign in which he hit .312 with 37 homers, 124 RBIs and a .924 OPS while earning MVP votes and winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award, the Cardinals had hopes that Ozuna would be a major presence in the middle of their lineup. However, he ended up hitting 23 homers — a significant drop-off from the previous season — with a .758 OPS in 2018.

While he rebounded a bit while hitting 29 homers with an .800 OPS in 2019, Ozuna posted a career-low .241 batting average. He also served a stint on the injured list in each season with the Cardinals, missing time with right shoulder inflammation in 2018 and a right middle finger fracture in 2019.

The Cardinals, who made a qualifying offer to Ozuna earlier this offseason, will receive a draft pick and $500,000 in international bonus pool money from the Braves as compensation for the signing.