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Cardinals acquire Marcell Ozuna as Marlins’ payroll cuts continue

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The Cardinals didn’t get Giancarlo Stanton, but don’t worry, the Marlins are going to end up trading all of their outfielders.

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images

The Cardinals were one of the teams that failed to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, as they were not on his approved list of destinations. Their talks with the Marlins about bringing in an outfielder won’t be for nothing, though, as Ken Rosenthal reports that the two teams are “making progress” on a deal that would send Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals.

According to SiriusXM’s Craig Mish, the Ozuna deal is now done. MLB’s Jesse Sanchez reports the deal is awaiting the result of physicals. Joel Sherman reports that the big return in the trade — relatively speaking — is Sandy Alcantara, who will be 22 in 2018 and had a 4.31 ERA in Double-A before getting rocked in the majors in eight relief innings. Alcantara has his fans, but this is not inspiring considering what Ozuna has to offer.

The other prospects in the deal include Magneuris Sierra, St. Louis’ 6th-ranked prospect, RHP Zac Gallen, and LHP Daniel Castano. Gallen was drafted in the 3rd round last season, while Castano was a 19th-rounder. At this juncture, the Cardinals came out okay (if not far better) in this trade.

Ozuna is in his second season of arbitration eligibility, and won’t be a free agent until the 2020 season. He made $3.5 million in 2017, and is due for a raise after making the All-Star team and then winning both a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove, but in the grand scheme of contracts the Marlins are going to be dealing, moving his won’t make much of a dent. There is little point in Miami holding on to the 27-year-old, however, considering they’re gutting the team to start over, as he won’t be around the next time they’re any good.

The Marlins could have used this trade as an opportunity to attach another deal, like Junichi Tazawa’s $7 million owed to him for 2018, as a way to lower payroll even further — that’s just an example of a path that could have been taken. Instead, they ended up with this group of prospects.

Acquiring Ozuna gives the Cardinals some options in their outfield, as they already have Tommy Pham — who hit .306/.411/.520 — as well as Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty. Fowler ended up having a strong year by the time it ended, but Piscotty struggled and produced a below-average season, so he’d likely be the odd man out.