Miami was reportedly not pleased with Marcell Ozuna last spring, when he arrived at the team's Spring Training complex in Jupiter and did not appear to be in shape. As of Monday, that will not be the case heading into this spring.
Marlins front office executive Michael Hill said Ozuna is "in excellent shape," according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
Encouraging Marlins news: Mike Hill says Bour & Ozuna in excellent shape, which had been an issue. Bour lost over 20 lbs from end of season— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) February 15, 2016
Although Ozuna's relationship with the Marlins has not exclusively had to deal with his weight, the fact he is healthy and in shape heading into 2016 is a positive sign.
After opening the regular season as Miami's starting center fielder last April, Ozuna was demoted after a slow start offensively. An extensive minor league assignment resulted in a comment from Ozuna's agent, Scott Boras, which the Marlins subsequently responded to.
Miami has since been able to sign another Boras client, free agent starter Wei-Yin Chen, and it appears Boras and the Marlins do not have as poor a relationship as it once appeared they did. But he felt Ozuna did not belong in Triple-A and ultimately might have been correct.
Owner Jeffrey Loria has reportedly been down on Ozuna since the end of last season, but the Marlins decided to keep Ozuna in their outfield. A lack of major league ready outfield depth was likely factored into the club's decision.
Ozuna, 25, has consistently been mentioned in trade rumors since last July's non-waiver trade deadline. Some felt Ozuna would eventually be moved for a starting pitcher. But the Marlins decided to sign Chen instead.
Over 123 games with the Marlins last season, Ozuna batted .259/.308/.383 to complement 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. For the Marlins to have success in 2016, Ozuna will have to produce consistently in the middle of the order.
While Ozuna had been deemed out of shape in the past, Bour had not been. The fact he lost over 20 pounds, according to Jackson, is notable and should only prove to make him more valuable at first base.
Both Ozuna and Bour are integral parts of Miami's lineup. The fact they are in shape should have positive effects for the Marlins this season.