The Marlins have been shopping outfielder Marcell Ozuna this off-season, under rumors that owner Jeffrey Loria hates the 25-year old slugger. Ozuna hit .259/.308/.383 with 10 HR 44 RBI in his third season in the big leagues, his most disappointing thus far. He was demoted at one point to the minor leagues, although some think the move was done to manipulate his service time. Ozuna is a client of agent Scott Boras.
Ozuna was much better in 2014 when he hit .269/.317/.455 with 23 HR 85 RBI, including this monster shot. He is a solid defender overall but has defensive lapses and has been criticized for not having discipline.
"Ozuna has to commit himself to the game," one veteran National League scout said. "He does so many things wrong. He doesn’t always concentrate defensively. He has to watch his weight, learn the strike zone. I would trade him if I could because I don’t know if he will get it."
Many teams have inquired on the young outfielder capable of playing all three outfield positions, but the asking price has been high. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN seems to imply the Royals have been one of those teams.
#Marlins have aimed high in their Marcell Ozuna trade talks -- i.e., Yordano Ventura, Taijuan Walker, Danny Salazar. Serious asks.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 10, 2015
Like Ozuna, Yordano Ventura has had some issues keeping disciplined, and was also surprisingly demoted mid-season. However the Royals have already committed to Ventura on a long-term deal and with such a shortage of pitchers in their starting rotation, it seems unlikely the Royals could part with Ventura.
However if the Royals find the pitching free agent market more palatable than the outfield free agent market, might Ozuna make sense? Or again, is this Dayton Moore exploring all options and giving himself leverage against outfield free agents?
The idea of Ozuna and his light-tower power seems enticing. But his his strikeout rate and discipline issues seem contrary to the philosophies of the franchise. It is hard to imagine the Royals breaking up the Major League club with a big trade for a risky gamble.