Within the coming weeks, at least one player who has fallen out of favor with Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria will be traded. Marcell Ozuna is the most likely, because Loria, “can’t stand the guy.” Nice. Business as usual for Loria and the Marlins, as they shop Ozuna, a 25-year-old outfielder who is a plus-defender with 25-homer potential.
“I’d be surprised if they keep him,” one exec said of Ozuna. “Loria clearly can’t stand the guy and everybody knows it.” #Marlins
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 20, 2015
The Marlins have aired their dirty laundry with Ozuna, and will now try to trade him. Ozuna spent time in the minors last summer, likened his demotion to being in jail, spurned the advances of the Marlins regarding a team-friendly contract extension (possibly the genesis of Loria’s dislike for Ozuna), and may have been at the root of the dismissal of Dan Jennings. Jennings supported and played Ozuna, which did not sit well with Loria.
It appears the Marlins have now done everything in their power to lower the trade value of Ozuna. Loria may not even care. At this point, the Marlins just have to get a deal done before the situation becomes even more toxic. Then the team can move on to putting out any fires still smoldering around Jose Fernandez. The Marlins may have been able to get a decent return on Ozuna if Loria had just kept his mouth shut. Ozuna’s trade value is already diminished by the fact that he is coming off a poor season in which he regressed in every major offensive category. Plate discipline is the last hurdle keeping Ozuna from being an All-Star caliber player. Most likely, Ozuna just needs a change of scenery to get his career back on track.
When a team makes it so incredibly obvious a player has fallen out of favor with the front office, it’s hard to really dig in your heels at the negotiating table. The Marlins want a controllable, young arm in return for Ozuna, and they will probably get one, but that’s about it. Trying to ask for more would be like showing your cards to the table and still trying to bluff. The Marlins are going to have to settle for whatever is offered to them when it comes to Marcell Ozuna.