Posted on December 13, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. After failing to convince Giancarlo Stanton to waive his no-trade clause to come to St. Louis, the Cardinals have worked out another trade with the Miami Marlins to acquire an outfielder. St. Louis will acquire Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins in exchange for pitching prospects Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, and Daniel Castano, as well as outfielder Magneuris Sierra. The deal is pending physicals for the players involved. Alcantara was reportedly part of the package the Cardinals would have sent to Miami had Stanton approved a trade to the Cardinals.
He may not be Stanton, but Ozuna still gives the Cardinals the power-hitting outfielder they wanted to add this offseason. The 27-year old is coming off the best season of his career as he moves into the prime of his career. In 2017, Ozuna hit .312 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs, all career highs for the Dominican native. Ozuna also made the all-star team for the second straight season while also winning the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards for the first time in his career.
The Cardinals view Ozuna as a potential cleanup hitter who can anchor their lineup in the years to come. He has two more years of arbitration before becoming a free agent following the 2019 season.
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With Ozuna onboard, the Cardinals now have a rather crowded outfield. Dexter Fowler, a major signing last offseason, is penciled in as the team’s center fielder. That leaves Ozuna, Tommy Pham, Stephen Piscotty, and Randal Grichuk in the corner outfield spots. Prospects Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader could also factor into the equation at some point in 2018.
It appears likely the Cardinals will trade away at least one outfielder once the trade for Ozuna is official. Piscotty and Grichuk are the most likely candidates. Fowler could also be a trade chip, as either Pham or Ozuna could move over to center field. Ozuna played center field throughout much of his career. However, the Marlins moved him to left field last season, shifting Yelich to center field. It’ll be interesting to see where the Cardinals place Ozuna in their outfield alignment.
As for the Marlins, trading Ozuna continues a massive fire sale. In addition to Stanton and Ozuna, the Marlins have also traded second baseman Dee Gordon. There are now rumors that the Marlins are actively shopping Yelich. The Marlins originally set out to reduce their payroll to less than $90 million. However, trading the outfield of Stanton, Ozuna, and Yelich would indicate a major rebuilding project is about to commence in Miami.
While trading away Stanton, Gordon, and now Ozuna, the Marlins have been able to add several intriguing prospects, mostly pitchers. Alcantara definitely fits into that category. He made eight relief appearances for the Cardinals last season, showing flashes of brilliance. He’ll return to the minors in 2018. But if everything comes together for him, Alcantara has a chance to be a frontline starter in the majors. If that ends up happening, both teams have a chance to win this trade.