Marcell Ozuna has consistently been mentioned in trade rumors, but two new Marlins coaches want the organization's front office to keep its center fielder. New Manager Don Mattingly and Hitting Coach Barry Bonds do not want the Marlins to move Ozuna this winter, according to The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.
While the Marlins have been fielding offers for Ozuna, Cafardo notes Marlins front office executives "are getting pushback from Bonds and Mattingly, feeling they can shape Ozuna into a 30/30 performer."
Ozuna struggled throughout the first half of 2015, and the Marlins were reportedly considering a trade in the days leading up to last July's non-waiver trade deadline. At that point, the Indians were among the teams interested, but that might have changed this winter as the price for Ozuna appears to have increased.
The Marlins have been seeking starting pitching depth this off-season and are not thought to be done after signing Edwin Jackson to a one-year deal last week. Miami could use Ozuna to add another arm to its starting rotation, but since Ozuna struggled and spent time in Triple-A last season, interested clubs might not be willing to part with a front of the rotation arm the Marlins are hoping to add.
Ozuna, 25, is still arbitration eligible and batted .259/.308/.383 to complement 10 home runs and 44 RBIs with the Marlins last season. Bonds and Mattingly are not alone in feeling they can help Ozuna thrive in 2016. Multiple scouts believe Ozuna had a down year and is a bounce back candidate heading into spring training.
Cafardo reported "up to 10 teams have inquired and/or have serious interest" in Ozuna. The outfield market is starting to take shape, with Alex Gordon and Denard Span both signing last week. For an organization seeking a controllable and affordable outfielder and unwilling to pay Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton, Ozuna might be an attractive option. Texas could be among the clubs interested.
Since Ozuna was sent to Triple-A, Owner Jeffrey Loria is thought to be down on him. But if Mattingly and Bonds, two new coaches Loria selected, want Ozuna in center field on opening day. the Marlins might end up keeping Ozuna on the roster despite the interest he is drawing.