Miami Marlins: The case for keeping Marcell Ozuna

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Last week I wrote an admittedly optimistic post about Marcell Ozuna‘s potential for a bounce back season in 2016. The gist of the piece is that bad BABIP luck may be overshadowing a few improvements Ozzie’s made from last season, namely lowering his strikeout rate and hitting more line drives. Since then, his name has apparently been shopped around quite aggressively by management.

Let me make this clear. Any trade the Fish could realistically get for Ozuna will be a disaster. Why?

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It all starts with his trade value. It’s well documented that Ozuna is having a rough year. His wRC+ currently stands at 83 (league average is 100) and he’s produced just a 0.4 WAR this year.

However, his youth (just 24) and controllability (still one year till arbitration, four until free-agency) actually combine to give him quite a bit of value, especially for a rebuilding team like the Marlins that should be looking to stockpile such assets.

This is where the real problem comes in. Management seems to be under the illusion that they are just one more player away from contention. We saw this play out last offseason when they swapped out the entire farm system for the likes of Dee Gordon and Mat Latos. Now there are no prospects to feed this perpetual appetite for ‘win now’ transactions, so Loria turns his hungry eyes on Marcell Ozuna.

When you’re delusional about your own position, like Loria is, it’s impossible to make sound decisions. The names mentioned as possibly coming back in the deal aren’t pretty. Some people even think it might be Aroldis Chapman, a move that certainly fits this front office’s MO, but should be looked at as a worst case scenario. There’s few things more useless then a highly paid closer on a bad team.

Ultimately the best thing to do with Ozuna is nothing. Patience is a virtue and it’s a particularly valuable one in this situation. Just bring him back for one more year at the minimum and see if  he can bounce back.

If he does, great! You’ve got a good young outfielder with defense and power. If not, no big deal, you got a chance at a good young outfielder with defense and power, and it came with essentially no cost.

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