Report: Braves close to announce four year deal with top player

Braves veteran seeks a new contract
The Atlanta Braves have a decision to make about the future of their designated hitter position.
The Atlanta Braves have some decisions to make this offseason.

The biggest question is about starting pitcher Max Fried’s impending free agency; the lefty, who turns 30 this offseason, is expected to be one of the most sought-after free agents in the upcoming class, given the relative scarcity of frontline starting options available in free agency each offseason.
But just behind Fried’s free agency, another key roster-related decision must be made: what to do with designated hitter Marcell Ozuna.

. This season is the final year of a four-year, $65 million contract he signed following his Silver Slugger season in 2020, when he led the MLB in plate appearances (267) and the National League in home runs (18), RBIs (56), and total bases (145).
The first two years of the contract appeared to be a rare misfire for president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos, as Ozuna batted a combined.222 with a.397 slugging percentage while appearing in only 172 games due to injuries and off-field troubles. However, the last two seasons have validated the decision, with “the Big Bear” hitting 49 home runs and a.284 batting average.

Ozuna now leads Major League Baseball in RBIs (31) and the National League in home runs (9), while also setting team records in all three slashline categories (.344/.416/.678). He told David O’Brien of The Athletic that he hoped to seek an extension that would keep him in Atlanta beyond this season, which is his final guaranteed year of his contract. “Yeah, there’s no way you want to go explore somewhere else when you feel comfortable, when you’ve got your teammates and you’ve got your organization’s love,” Ozuna told CNN’s Brian O’Brien. “There’s no ambiguity about my decision. “I do not want to go anywhere else.”

(The Braves do have a one-year, $16 million club option for Ozuna with a $1 million buyout, which appears almost certain to be exercised based on where we are right now.)

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