With Josh Donaldson off to the Minnesota Twins on a four-year deal, the Atlanta Braves had a huge hole in the middle of their lineup, prompting the short-term investment in Marcell Ozuna on a one-year, $18 million deal. Ozuna will be the left fielder, with Ronald Acuna Jr. likely to split time between center field and right field, and with Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis and Adam Duvall sharing time in the third spot.
The Braves intend to go into spring training with Johan Camargo and Austin Riley lined up to share third base unless one of them wins the job outright, and Atlanta has confidence that this could happen.
Camargo played well in 2018, posting an .806 OPS, but last season, with Donaldson set at third and Dansby Swanson off to a good start at shortstop, Camargo didn't play much early in the season -- and with intermittent playing time, he didn't perform well. He was sent to the minors in August, worked on his swing and looked better when he returned -- but then fouled a ball off his shin, suffering a fracture.
Riley was promoted to the big leagues in May and did big damage initially but then struggled, in keeping with his history; at every level he's played, there's been a period of adjustment. Mark Monaghan, his high school coach in Mississippi, said that Riley's ability to cope with adversity is one of his best traits as a player, and that part of Riley will be under examination this year: In his final 49 games last season, he batted .173, with 67 strikeouts in 164 plate appearances. He'll be 23 in April and like many young players, he'll need to make adjustments.
But if Camargo and/or Riley don't hit and the Braves' current third-base plans evaporate, there likely will be other options on the market. There will be potential solutions available, such as: