Marcell Ozuna Rumors: Cardinals, Braves, Rangers, D-Backs, Reds Interested in FA

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2019

CORRECTS TO DOUBLE, INSTEAD OF SINGLE  - St. Louis Cardinals' Marcell Ozuna celebrates his two-run double against the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning during Game 1 of a best-of-five National League Division Series, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

There is reportedly a healthy market developing for free-agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna on the heels of his two-year stint with the St. Louis Cardinals.

According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers have shown interest in signing Ozuna:

The 29-year-old Ozuna spent his first five MLB seasons with the Miami Marlins before getting traded to St. Louis. Last season he hit .241 with 29 home runs and 89 RBI in 130 games.

Ozuna hit .280 with 23 homers and 88 RBI in his first season with the Cards as well, but his best season to date came in 2017, which was his final campaign as a member of the Marlins.

The Dominican Republic native was named an All-Star for the second time that season and also won his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award. Overall, Ozuna set career highs across the board with a .312 batting average, 37 home runs and 124.

Teams knowing he is capable of that type of productive will likely help Ozuna on the free-agent market, although it is unclear if that was a one-year outlier or something he can replicate.

A return to the Cardinals would make sense since Ozuna helped St. Louis reach the National League Championship Series last season as a key part of the middle of the batting order along with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

As far as the other reported suitors are involved, only the Braves were a playoff team last season.

If the Braves sign Ozuna, it would likely result in a reshuffling of the outfield since Ronald Acuna Jr., Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte are the current starts. Also, Ozuna could be a power-hitting replacement for third baseman Josh Donaldson if he signs elsewhere.

The Diamondbacks, Reds and Rangers are all teams in transition that have a chance to be more competitive next season with a strong free agency.

Arizona went 85-77 last season but missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year. They boast a couple of offensive studs in Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar, but Ozuna would add some much-needed protection behind them.

The Reds are six years removed from their last playoff appearance, but they have some young talent coming up through the pipeline, and signing Ozuna would be a good way to supplement rising stars such as Aristides Aquino and Nick Senzel in the outfield.

Texas has not reached the playoffs since 2017, and while it already has some quality power hitters in Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor, it could use another big bat to supplement a surprisingly good rotation spearheaded by Mike Minor and Lance Lynn.

Ozuna would help almost any team in the majors, but since Morosi estimated that it may take a five-year deal to land him, any team that signs Ozuna will have to make a big financial commitment.

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