Miami Marlins Option Marcell Ozuna to Triple-A
By Ehsan Kassim
For the second time in as many days, the Miami Marlins have demoted a struggling regular to the minor leagues. On Saturday night, Jarred Cosart was the victim, as he suffered through a horrendous fourth of July start against the Chicago Cubs.
After dropping their second straight game on Sunday afternoon against the Cubs, the team opted to demote center fielder Marcell Ozuna to Triple-A.
The 2015 season has been a major struggle for Ozuna, who slashed .249/.301/.337 with a 76 wRC+ in 322 plate appearances for the Miami Marlins in 2015. He has just 4 home runs and a .088 ISO on the season.
This is after he posted a .269/.317/.455 slash line in 2014 with a 114 wRC+, 24 home runs, and an ISO of .186 in 2014.
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In demoting Ozuna, the Marlins likely hope he can figure out his power struggles and correct his issues playing with less stress in the minors.
The team had very high hopes for their outfield of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna coming into the season. Giancarlo was having an MVP-caliber season before breaking a bone in his hand and Yelich has played much better of late, since a back injury forced him to the DL and off to a slow start.
The Marlins can now spend the better part of July missing two of the their three outfields the team (and many around baseball) had high hopes for coming into the season.
Though it’s not official, Jordany Valdespin could be the replacement for Ozuna on the 25-man roster, as Clark Spencer reports he was removed from the New Orleans Zephyrs game shortly after the news of Ozuna’s demotion was leaked.
Valdespin owns an uninteresting .287/.342/.378 slash line with a 93 wRC+ for the Zephyrs in 235 plate appearances. His career slash line sits at .218/.273/.372 with a 80 wRC+, so he is certainly not an improvement over what Ozuna can and will offer the team long-term.
With Ozuna’s demotion, the team is likely to slot slick fielding left fielder Christian Yelich in center field, with Ichiro Suzuki, Michael Morse, and Cole Gillespie splitting time between the two corner outfield spots.
Also, at this point, with the Miami Marlins looking to trade from their surplus of starting pitching, don’t be surprised to see an outfielder be a target for the team in a trade. The team lacks outfield depth in their upper minor league system, so someone who projects as a fourth outfielder could become a target for the team.
Of course, with the demotion of Jarred Cosart yesterday and Marcell Ozuna today, the decision to trade Jake Marisnick last July for Cosart looks a lot worse today.
Let’s hope the demotion for Marcell Ozuna is a short one and he can get back on track against minor league pitching. His absence from the lineup makes the team even less interesting to watch than they already were.
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Next: Cosart Demoted, Morse Activated