Marcell Ozuna might not be a Marlin by the end of the month. Although the Marlins were initially not expected to be open to dealing Ozuna, ESPN's Buster Olney notes Miami is "very much open" to dealing the young outfielder.
The Marlins are very much open to the idea of moving outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who turned down overtures from the team in spring training about a long-term deal.
Heading into 2015, the Marlins viewed Ozuna as their center fielder of the future. He had a solid rookie campaign and posted a .269/.317/.455 batting line to complement 23 home runs and 85 RBIs through 153 games last season. But after a slow offensive start, the Marlins decided to option Ozuna to Triple-A New Orleans. Before being sent down, he was batting .249/.301/.337 and posted just four home runs and 26 RBIs through 79 games. Miami was hoping for more offense.
Although he did not have success early, Ozuna appears to be bouncing back in Triple-A. He is batting .348/.388/.587 through 12 games though he has only added a pair of home runs and five RBIs. Since the Marlins view Ozuna as a key middle of the lineup bat, the organization is hoping he can produce consistently. The club also does not want him floating in New Orleans for too long.
While Ozuna is a young prospect who has had a fair amount of success early in his career, the Marlins might not be hoping to trade him this season. He turned down an extension during spring training but the fact Miami made an offer proves the organization wants him in center field, regardless of whether or not he tests the free agent market in the future. Miami is thought to have one of the best outfields in baseball, which features Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Ozuna when all three are healthy and performing well.
Miami has been able to score runs in Ozuna's absence as a result of the success of Ichrio Suzuki and Cole Gillespie. Both have produced when called upon to start and because of it the Marlins are likely not concerned with Ozuna's immediate return.
Sitting in fourth place within the National League East, the Marlins are expected to sell a handful of veteran pieces. Ozuna was not thought to be among them, but FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported some clubs feel he would benefit from a change of scenery. Ozuna might not be dealt before this year's non-waiver trading deadline. But if he is, the Marlins will be forced to consider other center field options.