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Miami Marlins trade rumors: Club seeing top starter in exchange for Ozuna

In a deal for Marcell Ozuna, the Marlins want a front of the rotation arm.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami might be expecting too much in a trade involving Marcell Ozuna. The club will likely consider moving Ozuna but is requesting a "number two" starter in return, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

After relying on several of its younger starters last season, the Marlins are hoping to add starting pitching depth. Jose Fernandez is expected to be healthy by opening day, but Henderson Alvarez, who spent a significant amount of time on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, might not be. Alvarez could be non-tendered, which would create a need for a top starter behind Fernandez.

Before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Marlins were reportedly shopping Ozuna and they might be open to doing it again. Multiple reports have suggested Owner Jeffrey Loria is down on Ozuna and has a desire to trade him. The front office at first was unsure of how it wanted to handle the situation. Now that Dan Jennings, who placed Ozuna in the lineup consistently when he was managing, has been dismissed, the organization might agree to move him.

Ozuna, 24, struggled consistently throughout the first half of 2015. He ended the year with a .259/.308/.383 line to complement 10 home runs and 44 RBIs over 123 games with the Marlins.

After Ozuna had difficulty producing to open the year, the Marlins opted to option to him to Triple-A. He batted .317 over 33 contests in New Orleans, however did not respond positively to the demotion. Ozuna compared playing in Triple-A to being let out of jail and ultimately did not return to Miami until August 15.

Miami was hoping to extend Marcell Ozuna before the start of last season, however he is represented by Scott Boras and turned down the Marlins' extension proposal. Boras has a tendency to encourage his clients to receive the largest possible contract through free agency. Ozuna's decision might have cost him a job with the Marlins.

Cleveland has been linked to Ozuna in the past and does have multiple young pitchers that could be made available. Any team seeking outfield help might at least consider Ozuna, who has proven to provide a significant amount of power and produce consistently at times.

If the Marlins opt to move Ozuna, they will need to consider adding another outfielder. Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton are effective, but the club would need consistent production out of its center fielder.

As Stark points out, a top starter might not be realistic in an Ozuna deal since he did not have a notably successful 2015 campaign. Regardless, there is still likely a good chance the Marlins move him. Adding outfield help and another pitcher will be the goals that follow.