A team would have to be willing to overpay for the Marlins to even consider trading Jose Fernandez this off-season, multiple reports have suggested. Even though it might not be, the same should be true for a Marcell Ozuna deal.
Since the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, multiple clubs have expressed interest in the Marlins' starting center fielder. He is still arbitration eligible and, if healthy, can prove to be a valuable power hitter from the right side of the plate.
It only makes sense for teams to inquire on Ozuna. He is young and affordable, and since Owner Jeffrey Loria reportedly wants to move him, there is a chance it takes less to acquire Ozuna than it should. But the Marlins should not take anything less than a top of the rotation starting pitcher and another middle tier prospect in a deal involving Ozuna.
Several teams reportedly believe the Marlins' asking price is too high, and for an outfielder who spent time in Triple-A last season and batted .259 over 123 major league contests, it probably is. But the expectation is Ozuna will be a bounce back candidate next season, having success comparable to that he had during his 2014 season in Miami. He batted .269 to complement 23 home runs and 85 RBIs that year.
Now that Alex Gordon is off the market after deciding to re-sign with the Royals on Wednesday, the outfield market will likely begin to take shape. Justin Upton and Yoenis Cepsedes will likely both demand extensive contracts. It only makes sense, then, for teams hoping to add outfield help to call the Marlins and ask what it would take to acquire Ozuna.
The issue for the Marlins is the clubs seeking outfield help are also the ones that need starting pitching. The Rangers and Indians are known to have checked in on Ozuna. But if it takes a top starter to acquire Ozuna, as it should, neither of those clubs will likely be in a position to make a move. Texas starter Chi Chi Gonzalez might only be getting the conversation started. It could take Carlos Carrasco to get a deal done for the Indians.
Ultimately, the Marlins will likely keep Ozuna because they do not have a replacement. In the event Ozuna is moved, the Marlins appear content with having Derek Dietrich platoon with a right-handed hitter in left field. But even in that scenario, the Marlins would have to add an outfielder.
A team would have to overpay for Fernandez. The same should be true for Ozuna to be moved.