After just missing out on the services of Giancarlo Stanton, the St.Louis Cardinals, who have been very hot in the trade market this winter, have officially followed through with one of their back-up plans, acquiring outfielder Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins.
Ozuna to Cardinals is done
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) December 13, 2017
Following a disappointing 83-79 campaign that saw stellar, but not awe-inspiring production from a number of players, St.Louis made the decision to turn their overload of assets into a few premium pieces for their lineup. Entering the offseason, they were heavily linked to Stanton, and former AL MVP Josh Donaldson. Despite negotiations that nearly broke through the finish line, the two teams never got a Stanton deal finished, which left the door open for the Yankees.
Reports began to surface shortly after Stanton shot down the Cards, that they’d set their sights on Ozuna. This is a big get for the Cardinals, a team that was not only in desperate search of a steady source of production in the outfield, but also a steady source of power from the heart of their lineup. The Cards were on the receiving end of breakout years from Tommy Pham, and Paul DeJong, both of which cranked 20+ home runs last season. This move seems to signify that while the faith in those two are there, the skepticism is also present regarding a repeat campaign.
Ozuna, 27, also enjoyed a breakout campaign last year, hitting .312/.376/.548 at the plate with 37 round-trippers and 124 runs driven home. All of those numbers put Ozuna’s prior career-bests to shame, as you can see below. Having topped 20 homers in all but one season, Ozuna clearly fits into the mold of “steady power” from the heart of their lineup, in which Ozuna projects to hit third.
The Cards pursuit of premiums for their lineup may not be over, however, despite this acquisition. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports notes that the Cards plan B following the swing-and-miss of Stanton, included Ozuna, Christian Yelich, J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, and Evan Longoria. While it’s not a guarantee that the Cards further pursue any of the other names, Bob Nightengale’s tweet seemed to indicate that it’s at least a possibility.
The #STLCards optimistic they will land at least one bat if not two by end of week with Marcell Ozuna, Josh Donaldson, Evan Longoria in play
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 13, 2017