Marcell Ozuna Willing to Wait on Extension


In the past five months, the Miami Marlins have signed outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich to multi-year extensions. Stanton’s contract is worth a whooping $325 million over the next 13-years while Yelich’s pact is for $49.5 million over the next seven years

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Despite seeing his two running mates in the outfield signed to long-term extensions, Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna is in no rush himself to get an extension done with the Marlins.

This is not particularly surprising, as Ozuna’s agent, the great Scott Boras, has always pushed his clients to go through the arbitration process, and reach free agency, earning as much money as possible. Usually an extension akin to Yelich’s has the player give up a couple of seasons of free agency at a discounted price.

For example, in 2022, Yelich is under a team option for $15 million, in what would have been his third year of free agency. This is why many people have deemed Yelich’s contract to be very team friendly to the Marlins, despite the guaranteed money for Yelich.

Marcell Ozuna told ESPN’s Jayson Stark that Boras has told him not to worry about an extension, rather just focus on his career.

"“We talk a lot [with Boras],” Ozuna said. “He says ‘Don’t worry. Don’t worry. Worry about your hitting and play the game. I’ll worry about your career and your money. That’s what he says.’ If he made a good deal with the team, I agree."

In his rookie season in 2013, Ozuna posted a .265/.303/.389 slash line with a 90 wRC+ in 291 plate appearances. He posted a 1.6 fWAR in his major league stint, before going down with a thumb injury, which landed him on the DL instead of back in the minors when he was struggling.

Because of the DL stint, Ozuna’s major league clock kept ticking, letting him become a Super-2 eligible guy. As a super-2 player, Ozuna will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2016 and will be eligible for arbitration four times, compared to the three times most other arbitration players go through.

Last year was the breakout season for Ozuna, as he posted a .269/.317/.455 slash line with a 114 wRC+ in 612 plate appearances, posting a 3.7 fWAR, the third best mark on the Marlins last year. He hit 23 home runs and posted a .186 ISO, both significantly better than the 2 home runs and .124 ISO from 2013.

His 2014 campaign, along with the strong seasons from Stanton and Yelich, have many in baseball believing the Marlins have the best outfield in baseball. The Marlins best chances of contending in 2015 rest on the backs of their outfield.

Ozuna, despite the contract talk, has told the media that he’s not going to be worried about the contract talks during the season, solely focusing on his game and winning a championship.

"“Let’s see what happens next year. I don’t want something in my head, like a distraction. I’m just going to play the game, and that’s it. Try to have a good season and if we get a championship, that’s what we want. I’m gonna play and do my best.”"

Ozuna is a special talent that the Marlins are lucky to have. However, with Scott Boras being his client and Ozuna being a super-two guy through the arbitration process, it would not surprise me to see the Marlins eventually trade Ozuna before he reaches free agency. Both Yelich and Stanton already locked into hefty prices in the future and Jose Fernandez, another Boras client, will be set to be arbitration eligible in 2016, making it tough for the Fish to afford Ozuna in the longrun.

Fernandez is also unlikely to sign an extension with the team

Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich both signed long-term extensions with the Marlins, but it’s hard to see Marcell Ozuna on that same path, unless he and his agent, Scott Boras, change their stance on negotiating a long-term deal.

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