Marcell Ozuna's name has been mentioned in trade rumors over the last few weeks. But now that the Marlins signed a top free agent starter, that should change.
Miami was reportedly interested in trading Ozuna for a top starter, but with Wei-Yin Chen expected to be the club's No. 2 starter behind Jose Fernandez, there is no longer a need to move Ozuna and add another starting pitcher.
Although an Ozuna trade is unlikely, the Marlins could still continue to seek starting pitching depth. Cliff Lee and Doug Fister have both been linked to the Marlins in recent days and might be relatively affordable. Yovani Gallardo could be another free agent option, but a trade for a starter at this point might not benefit the club long term.
Owner Jeffrey Loria has reportedly been down on Ozuna since the end of last season, during which Ozuna struggled and was optioned to Triple-A. Ozuna compared his time in New Orleans to being let out of jail, and despite some success after being recalled, Ozuna was being shopped by the Marlins.
This off-season was no the first time Ozuna has been mentioned in trade rumors. Even before last July's non-waiver trade deadline the Marlins were fielding offers for Ozuna, with the Indians known to be among the clubs expressing interest.
If the Marlins moved Ozuna, they likely would have had to make another signing or move to provide outfield depth. The Marlins do not have a top outfield prospect in their minor league system and would have had to rearrange their outfield if Ozuna was traded.
Miami was reportedly considering moving Christian Yelich to center field and having Derek Dietrich platoon with a right-handed hitter in left field. However, Dietrich has been inconsistent defensively throughout the course of his young career and there was no guarantee the Marlins would find an inexpensive and productive right-handed outfielder.
The Marlins could consider moving Ozuna again in the future, but the club appears to be content with its current set of young outfielders. Now that Chen has joined the starting rotation, there is not a clear need to add a top starter.