Miami Marlins are trading the wrong outfielder

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Marcell Ozuna
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Marcell Ozuna /

The Miami Marlins finally have a player capable of putting butts in seats. Their desire to trade him isn’t totally unfounded, but it could be disastrous.

The Miami Marlins need to get salary down for the 2018 baseball season. At the very least, it can’t increase over the $115 million mark it was at last season. The quick and obvious solution to their salary problems is to trade Giancarlo Stanton.

But there lurks a greater consequence to this move than the obvious loss of a franchise player. It’s name is Scott Boras, and he’s not getting enough consideration this offseason. He’s Marcell Ozuna’s agent, and he’ll push Ozuna to test free agency.

Have no doubt, once Ozuna hits the open market, he’ll command more than the Miami Marlins will be able to pay.

This year, Ozuna’s arbitration estimate puts him somewhere in the $10.9 million range. That’s a big number, and during the 2018 season, it’s about a $14 million difference between what he and Giancarlo are making.

In other words, trading Ozuna, Brad Ziegler, and Dan Straily amounts to the same hit as trading Giancarlo Stanton. Using Ozuna and Straily as the centerpiece of a deal, and adding Ziegler as the cost of doing business would allow the Marlins to keep Stanton.

Moreover, they won’t be left with nothing when Ozuna hits free agency in two years. Ozuna’s worth has never been higher than it is right now. Team’s in the market for Giancarlo Stanton, can also be convinced they’re in the market for Marcell Ozuna.

Ozuna comes without the huge price tag, a couple years of team control, and comparable production. Trading him instead of Stanton not only minimizes future risk, it likely provides a bigger return.

What the Miami Marlins can get back

By trading Ozuna, the Miami Marlins would put themselves in a position to name their price. Any deal with Stanton will invariably be overly complex and not return equal value. The cost of getting his contract off the books is worth an entire blue-chip prospect.

By trading Ozuna, the Miami Marlins are likely able to get a competent outfielder in return, and help in their starting rotation. Not to mention a bevy of promising young prospects.

If the goal is building for the future, trusting a client represented by Scott Boras is not the way to go. Regardless of how the Miami Marlins are performing as a team, or how much Ozuna wants to be in Miami, he won’t agree to an extension.

Stanton is locked up and wants to be in Miami. Keeping him, and moving Ozuna is the prudent thing to do. But alas, there is no indication this is what will happen.