Even after Giancarlo Stanton was traded to the New York Yankees, the Colorado Rockies might still make a trade for a power-hitting outfielder from Miami.
As much as we may have liked to imagine Stanton crushing home runs out of Coors Field, Colorado was never really in the running for the NL’s reigning MVP.
Stanton’s monster contract (nearly 300 million over 10 years!) by itself pretty much excluded Colorado from the bidding process before it started. That doesn’t mean, however, that Colorado and Miami won’t still make a deal this offseason. Derek Jeter and company have made it clear that their willing to move pieces this offseason. They’ve already shipped Stanton to New York and before that, they sent Dee Gordon to Seattle.
Chances are, the Marlins won’t stop there. This brings up another one of their most coveted pieces–outfielder Marcell Ozuna.
Fast forward to the offseason and plenty of teams are interested in the 27-year-old All-Star and you can be sure the Marlins will listen to offers. Over the course of last season and this offseason, Stanton’s presence has towered over Ozuna, but don’t let that distract you from Ozuna’s own wealth of talent.
Ozuna has been an All-Star the last two seasons. In 2016, he hit .266 with 23 home runs and 76 RBI’s. Those numbers are pretty much in line with the level of production he has put out throughout his young career.
Last season, though, Ozuna had a breakout season at the plate that was overshadowed by Stanton’s pursuit of history. Ozuna boosted his batting average up to .312 while smashing 37 home runs and driving in an astonishing 124 RBI’s. He also posted a .924 OPS while collecting 191 hits. It also should be noted that in 13 career games at Coors Field, Ozuna has one home run, nine RBI but he has 18 total hits and an offensive slashline of .346/.375/.442 at Coors.
Those are huge numbers that could transform any lineup.
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Another benefit of Ozuna is that, in terms of his contract, he would be a lot cheaper than Stanton. Ozuna is entering his second year of arbitration and will be a free agent in 2020. Last season he made just 3.5 million and though that number is likely going to go up this year, it won’t get anywhere near the ridiculous size of Stanton’s contract or the contract that someone like JD Martinez will be looking for this offseason.
The real cost of acquiring Ozuna will come in what the Rockies would have to give the Marlins in return for him. Luckily, though, Colorado has a deep enough farm system that they can make a move without sacrificing top prospects like Brendan Rodgers and Riley Pint.
The big question with Ozuna will be whether he can reproduce the crazy season he had last year or if he will regress to his usual level of production. Even if Ozuna puts up less eye-popping numbers in 2018, he is still a very talented hitter that would lengthen Colorado’s lineup for a relatively low cost. However, considering that Coors Field is a well known hitter’s haven, that may not happen.
A deal with Miami could also potentially improve Colorado’s bullpen as the Marlins could look to unload arms like Kyle Barraclough or Brad Ziegler. We know Colorado has been pursuing help in the bullpen, including the Rays’ Alex Colome, so the inclusion of one or both of these arms wouldn’t be shocking.
If general manager Jeff Bridich is really looking to get the best “bang for the buck“, Ozuna might be the perfect fit.