Name the Marlins player that ranks fifth in outfield assists, in the top ten for games played, total bases, home runs, runs batted in, and is in the top fifteen NL players for OPS.
If you were thinking of Marcell Ozuna, you read the headline or you spend a lot of time on the Baseball-Reference website. Were it not for the mammoth season enjoyed by Giancarlo Stanton, a case could be made for Ozuna as team MVP in the midst of one of the better campaigns ever by a Marlins player.
Unfortunately, the Marlins are at a crossroads. Under new ownership, with an empty farm system, and teetering on the brink of playoff elimination, changes are being considered to improve the long-term outlook for the Marlins, and it is Ozuna whose name comes up in discussion as the key trade piece for acquiring building blocks for the future.
That would be a colossal mistake. Not only is Ozuna an offensive dynamo, he is under team control for the next two seasons and collecting only $3.5 million for the 2017 season.
Historically speaking, trade value for a player with two years remaining is adequate, but wouldn't heat up until next season's pennant chase. Should the Marlins be unable to make offseason moves that would propel them toward the playoffs, the market for a bat like Ozuna's would be in great demand at a time when teams are desperate to make a move. That could be the difference between a return of three prospects or two.
On the other hand, if the Marlins make a few wise moves to fill out the rotation in the offseason, they might find themselves closer to a playoff spot and in need of a commodity like Ozuna. Consistent pitching has been the only flaw for the Fish this year. Otherwise, discussion of moving Ozuna becomes absurd.
An affordable player under team control through 2019 who has enjoyed a breakout season at only 26 years old is a centerpiece for a team that needs to build, not rebuild.