It’s more than likely Marcell Ozuna stays with the Miami Marlins despite their attempts to trade him during the offseason, but if he does end up leaving to another team, it’s probably going to be either the Texas Rangers or the Cincinnati Reds.
Why those teams? The Marlins, even after signing Wei-Yin Chen, are firm believers in the ‘you can never have too much pitching’ motto, which no one really knows who coined it. They offered Ozuna to both teams earlier this winter in hopes of getting some young pitchers in return. With the Rangers, it had something to do with Chi-Chi Gonzalez and Nick Martinez, while for the Reds, it was more about their prospects, although a team that used an all-rookie rotation last season can’t really afford to give up more pitchers considering they traded away Johnny Cueto and Leake last season, deciding it’s time for a quick rebuild/retooling experience.
Ozuna seemed to be on his way out due to the bad blood between him and agent Scott Boras with owner Jeffrey Loria. Ozuna was demoted to the minors last season, and Boras claimed it was so the Marlins can hold up his service time and it had nothing to do with developmental reasons, which made it look like the two sides were willing to part ways. However, Loria and the front office know what a gifted player they have in the 25-year old centerfielder, hitting 36 home runs and batting .265 with a .727 OPS in 346 games for the Marlins, while also showing some very good defense and arm strength in the outfield.
The Rangers didn’t have a huge need for Ozuna because of the emerging Delino DeShields, but Ozuna is the better player, and had he arrived to Texas, he would have moved DeShields somewhere else in the outfield. For the Reds this move might not make perfect sense because of their retooling plans, but a 25-year old potential star who doesn’t cost too much shouldn’t someone they push away. Billy Hamilton is the team’s centerfielder and probably as good if not better than Ozuna. Had he landed in Cincinnati, he’d play either right field (with the Reds hoping to trade Jay Bruce before the season begins) or move to left field.
Both the Rangers and the Reds weren’t willing to give up enough talent to make Loria happy. The Reds have righties Robert Stephenson and Keury Mella and southpaws Amir Garrett and Cody Reed as the standout names among their prospects, but weren’t willing to give up enough of them to satisfy the Marlins demands. This trade could be re-visited a little bit further down the road, although from the 10 or more teams that showed interest in Ozuna, the Seattle Mariners were the most serious about it, although they couldn’t get anything done as well.