Marcell Ozuna overpowered Fenway Park this week, and the Boston Red Sox should take heed this offseason.
The Atlanta Braves went into Boston and swept the Red Sox this week, outscoring them 23-11 along the way. Outfielder Marcell Ozuna had a three-home run, six RBI game on Tuesday night, and he followed that by going 2-for-4 with another home run on Wednesday night.
For the three-game series at Fenway Park, Ozuna went 6-for-14 (.429) with four home runs, eight RBI and five runs scored. Red Sox pitching is a great elixir for a hitter this year, but even with that spike, Ozuna is having a nice year (.301/.390/.624 slash-line, 1.014 OPS, 12 home runs, 31 RBI).
Ozuna has hit at least 23 home runs in each of the last four full seasons with at least 88 RBI in three straight. He strikes out a fair amount (21.2 percent for his career, 23.4 percent so far this year), but he takes walks at a solid (and increasing) rate too (career-best 13.0 percent this year, 11.3 percent with the Cardinals in 2019).
Ozuna ultimately took, and arguably had to settle for, a one-year, $18 million deal from the Braves in January. So he’ll be a free agent again in the offseason, coming off what looks it’ll be a very productive offensive season.
Marcell Ozuna and the Red Sox would be a happy marriage
The universal DH rule seems to be beneficial for Ozuna. He has split his 36 games this season nearly evenly between DH (21 games) and the corner outfield spots (15 games-13 in left field). He has spent his entire career in the National League to this point, so a move to the American League might be on his radar as he nears his 30th birthday (Nov. 12). A move to the other league would also allow him to DH far more regularly, leaving aside the possibility of the universal DH rule sticks.
The Red Sox were trying to avoid big payroll obligations before the circumstances of COVID-19 hit. They also created a huge void last offseason by trading away Mookie Betts, which is impossible to fill but they’ve also lacked offense from their outfield.
A possible solution to some of the Red Sox woes was in the opposing dugout this week, terrorizing their overwhelmed pitchers when he stepped in the batter’s box. It may take a multi-year deal to secure Ozuna’s services this offseason, but it isn’t hard to see a nice fit for Boston when they dip into free agency.