Several players inside the Marlins' clubhouse do not want to see Marcell Ozuna traded. But if the Miami Marlins want to improve in 2016, trading Ozuna would likely be the best thing to do.
In the days leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Ozuna reportedly drew a notable amount of interest. Ozuna was in Triple-A at the time and opposing clubs likely viewed Ozuna as a starting outfielder that can provide occasional power. He has also established himself as a plus center fielder defensively, which more likely than not made him even more attractive to interested clubs.
While Ozuna was drawing interest, he has consistently struggled with the Marlins to open the season. After just a few months, he was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans while in the midst of a slump and did not return until August 15. Before being demoted, Ozuna was batting .249 with four doubles and 26 RBIs over 79 contests. He did bat .317 in New Orleans has not hit for a notable amount of power in 2015.
After being recalled, Ozuna compared being promoted to being let out of jail. That comment likely bothered the organization and the Marlins might not have been on the best of terms with Ozuna and his agent before the season started. Miami was hoping to extend Ozuna last winter but never got a deal done. He is represented by Scott Boras, who more often than not encourages his clients to test the free agent market. Ozuna's representation likely only served as another obstacle.
The Marlins are expected to seek controllable starting pitching this winter and a trade involving Ozuna would likely yield at least one quality arm. Cleveland was known to be among the teams interested and Ozuna becomes available, other clubs seeking young outfield help could also get involved.
If the Marlins moved Ozuna, they would have a hole in the outfield. Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton would man the corners but Miami would need to add outfield depth. Adding an outfielder through a different trade or free agency is likely realistic and the return in an Ozuna deal should make a trade reasonable.
Moving Ozuna could prove to be challenging since he has struggled offensively this season. However, the Marlins can point to his .269 batting average and 23 home runs last season. There is no guarantee Ozuna will perform any better next year. As a result, the Marlins should trade him and receive valuable pieces in return.