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Marlins continue stripping payroll, trade Marcell Ozuna to Cardinals

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Ozuna was due a big raise in 2018; Magneuris Sierra, Sandy Alcantara headline package bound for Miami.

Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals couldn’t get the power bat they wanted from the Marlins (Giancarlo Stanton), but as a consolation prize, they agreed to a Marcell Ozuna trade on Wednesday. The four-player package of prospects headed south is centered around outfielder Magneuris Sierra and right-handed pitcher Sandy Alcantara. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez adds that the deal is only awaiting physicals (SiriusXM’s Craig Mish was first to report an agreement).

The Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer delivered the full details:

Cardinals acquire

OF Marcell Ozuna

Marlins acquire

OF Magneuris Sierra

RHP Sandy Alcantara

RHP Zac Gallen

LHP Daniel Castano

Ozuna is coming off a career year. He batted .312/.376/.546 with 37 HR (142 wRC+) last season. Gold Glove-caliber defense in left field contributed to his 4.8 fWAR.

Although not under a hefty long-term contract, the two-time NL All-Star is due close to $11 million in arbitration, based on MLB Trade Rumors projections. He’ll remain arbitration-eligible in 2019 as well and earn another raise based on 2018 production. New ownership had no interest in paying that rate for seasons where the Marlins don’t expect to be in playoff contention.

Sierra, 21, and Alcantara, 22, were ranked sixth and ninth, respectively, in a top-heavy St. Louis farm system, per MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings. Quick analysis on the latter from the Fish On The Farm blog:

Sierra has a pretty special tool, too:

Overall, this haul impressed in terms of both quality and quantity of talent. The total value easily exceeds what they received from the Yankees in the Stanton blockbuster last week.

After stability in the Marlins outfield for much of the past five seasons, two-thirds of that group has been flipped for prospects.
Fish Stripes original image

What does this mean for Christian Yelich? There are conflicting reports.

He has already expressed displeasure with the club’s “new direction” (in a creative way), and the Marlins may accommodate him, from what Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports hears:

Other insiders—including Heyman and SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo—later learned that the initial plan is to hold onto him as the interim face of the franchise.