A day after finally receiving an offer from the Braves, Marcell Ozuna celebrated his return to Atlanta by playfully asking president of baseball operations and GM Alex Anthopoulos why he waited so long to complete this transaction.
“Alex, I’ve got a question for you,” Ozuna said while meeting with reporters via Zoom on Saturday. “If you [were] thinking Marcell Ozuna would be easy, why didn’t you do it [right] after the season ended?”
Put on the spot by his fun-loving, comical slugger, Anthopoulos laughed while saying, “As long as we get it done by Opening Day, we get it done.”
Ozuna expressed excitement as he discussed the four-year, $64 million contract he signed with the Braves on Friday. The deal puts him back in the middle of a potent Atlanta lineup that he fueled through Game 7 of last year’s National League Championship Series.
“My mind was always with Atlanta,” Ozuna said. “I just wanted them to say something to sign me back. I was on the market to find a new place. But at the same time, I just kept waiting for [the Braves’] decision.”
While visiting a friend on Friday, Ozuna received a call from his agent who relayed some information he received from the Rays. The veteran outfielder responded by saying, “I don’t like it, we’ll see what the Braves say.”
Fortunately for Ozuna, he didn’t wait much longer before finally getting the information and offer he had long awaited from Anthopoulos.
“As soon as the Braves and Alex bring something, I said, ‘Go with them,’” Ozuna said.
“There was no offer that we moved up or changed,” Anthopoulos said. “It was real quick. It was done in a day. It started in one day and ended in one day. We had stayed in contact. But we didn’t talk contract until a day or two ago.”