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Dan Jennings was 'more eager' to play Marcell Ozuna

Miami's front office might have rather seen Ozuna in right field as the season progressed without Giancarlo Stanton.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Jennings felt the Marlins had the best opportunity to win if Marcell Ozuna was in the lineup on a daily basis. But he might have been the only one to feel that way. Jennings' relationship with Owner Jeffrey Loria reportedly declined because "Jennings was more eager to play Ozuna than Loria was," according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Miami, after initially noting Jennings had the opportunity to return, dismissed Dan Jennings last Thursday. After he took over as manager once Mike Redmond was fired, Jennings' relationship with Loria reportedly deteriorated as others in the club's front office were given more authority.

Ozuna's name was consistently mentioned since the start of the season. He struggled from the outset and the Marlins ultimately decided to option him to Triple-A. He had success when he was in New Orleans and compared the situation to being let out of jail when he returned. Ozuna was able to produce in the second half and he received playing time as a result.

Before he was called up, multiple reports indicated the Marlins' front office was divided with regard to whether to retain or trade Ozuna. Miami might have had the opportunity to move Ozuna before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, as several clubs including the Indians were thought to be interested, but opted to keep him in their outfield.

The club's current view of Ozuna is significant since they attempted to extend him last winter. The fact that "Loria has been down on Ozuna for months," Jackson was told, is notable. If that remains true, the Marlins could be shopping for a new center fielder this off-season.

Ozuna has experience playing multiple outfield spots, and although he has a strong arm and might be best suited for right field, playing center field does not appear to have been an issue for Ozuna. The Marlins had the opportunity to play him in right, as Loria reportedly requested, in the absence of Giancarlo Stanton. But the Marlins were instead able to give Ichiro Suzuki playing time and keep his experienced bat in the lineup.

Miami does not have a ton of outfield depth, so if the club decides to move Ozuna, they might have to consider other options available through free agency. Jennings was likely determined to play Ozuna because the Marlins did not have many other options. Regardless, the move was not seen as a positive one in the Marlins' front office.