The New York Mets are hoping to poach one of their division rivals' most important hitters this winter.
Ozuna reportedly appeals to the Mets as a right-handed power bat that could help balance a lefty-heavy lineup. The Mets are currently projected to field at least five left-handed hitters in their starting lineup next year.
But it's not quite clear if there's room for Ozuna in a crowded Mets outfield, especially if the National League doesn't use a designated hitter in 2021. Ozuna doesn't play center field, a position the Mets want to improve this winter; when he does grab a glove, he does so primarily as a left fielder. He was Atlanta's primary DH in 2020, playing only 19 of his 60 games in the outfield.
Michael Conforto has right locked down at Citi Field, while regular center fielder Brandon Nimmo can play all three outfield spots. Nimmo, Dominic Smith, and Jeff McNeil are among several candidates who could rotate through left field for New York.
Ozuna - who turned 30 on Nov. 12 - is hitting the market after significantly boosting his value with Atlanta this past summer. Joining the Braves on a one-year, $18-million deal last winter, he slashed .338/.431/.636 and led the NL with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs across an MLB-high 267 plate appearances in 2020. For his efforts, Ozuna won his second career Silver Slugger and finished sixth in NL MVP voting.
Ozuna is not tied to draft-pick compensation after turning down a qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals last offseason.
The Mets should have plenty of competition for his services, including from the Braves, who have made it known they'd like to re-sign Ozuna.
Ozuna's market might not take shape until MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association complete negotiations about the future of the universal DH, according to Davidoff. The status of those talks is unknown.