The A's outfield depth is notably thin and there aren't any major outfield prospects banging on the door to the bigs. Josh Reddick is in the last year of his deal and while the A's claim to be interested in an extension, talks have been noticeably quiet as of late. Whether Reddick returns or not, the A's could use another outfielder. Yesterday, I looked at Denard Span who almost immediately signed with the Giants. Today I'll look at Marcell Ozuna, a young outfielder for the Marlins who will almost certainly be on the Angels the moment I press publish. Sorry.
Who is Marcell Ozuna?
Marcel Ozuna is an outfielder for the Marlins. He's capable of playing all three outfield positions and has shown flashes of being an elite defensive centerfielder. Offensively, he possesses lots of raw power which also cause a lot of strikeouts, leading to a low batting average and OBP. Let's peek at his numbers:
Ozuna was signed as a minor league free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2008 by the Miami Marlins at the age of 17. After spending some time in the low minors for the next few seasons with a few injuries mixed in, the Marlins jumped Ozuna to the bigs in 2013 where he held his own to the tune of a 90 OPS+ while playing a sterling centerfield.
In 2014, Ozuna broke out offensively and with a 115 wRC+, the outfielder put up a 3.7 fWAR season. His tremendous raw power began to show as he hit 23 homeruns in spite of playing in the offensive wasteland that is Marlins Park. Everything pointed to Ozuna being a future star, as at just 23 years old Ozuna was above average on both sides of the ball.
The following season was a disappointment for Ozuna, at one point being sent back to AAA to the dismay of everyone's favorite agent, Scott Boras. Ozuna's temporary demotion, possibly combined with the Marlins' distaste for his agent seems to be a microcosm of their overall feelings. Marlins' owner Jeffrey Loria "can't stand" Ozuna according to reports. If you're concerned this is an indictment against Ozuna, remember Loria is the man who can stand this abomination:
As many mammals are, this dog in the outfield seems rather confused by the moving dolphin sculpture at Marlins Park. pic.twitter.com/652W2dCh1Y— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) July 30, 2015
Side note, did you know that sculpture cost $2.5 million? What a bargain. And it doesn't even ground into double plays!
Have the A's been linked to Ozuna?
Source: Market on Marcell Ozuna is moving fast. Marlins have spoken trade with multiple teams, including one West Coast team recently.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 6, 2016
As you can see on this map, Oakland is on the West Coast (also known as the left one). This is the kinda analysis that keeps you coming back to AN, yearning for more of this stuff. Big thanks to whatever company put that map on the web. Our very own BWH did some great investigatory work to help narrow down which West Coast team that may be:
@JeffPassan Giants a's mariners Padres Dodgers angels or dbacks?????— BWH (@BWH85) January 6, 2016
Anyway, the A's haven't been linked to Ozuna through any tangible rumors but we are all too aware how quickly acquisitions move from no talks at all to trade completely done. So while the thoughts of an Ozuna acquisition should be approached with skepticism, you never know.
Should the A's take a run at Ozuna?
As is with every player in every potential signing or trade ever, the answer depends on cost. The Marlins are reportedly having difficulty finding a trade partner due to a steep asking price, and rightfully so. Ozuna has another year before he hits arbitration and is under team control through the 2019 season. Sounds like a nice guy to have, especially for a team who's future outfield plans hinge on Billy Burns getting fast enough to cover all three positions.
So, the cost. Back in December, it looked like Ozuna was clear out of the A's league in terms of the Marlins' ask.
#Marlins have aimed high in their Marcell Ozuna trade talks -- i.e., Yordano Ventura, Taijuan Walker, Danny Salazar. Serious asks.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 10, 2015
Those guys all have huge amount of value, somewhere around a Sean Manaea or a Jesse Hahn in a pretend world where injuries don't exist. Recent talks have been much more in the A's realm, as recent negotiations with the Rangers centered around Chi Chi Gonzalez and another player. Gonzalez is closer to Graveman than to Gray or Manaea, although "another player" is all sorts of vague so it's really hard to guess the overall value. Those talks didn't pan out, so we know that one way or another Gonzalez + some didn't get it done.
So should the A's do it? I lean towards no, as I can't imagine the cost won't be major. The Marlins are dumb but they're smart enough to not just give up Ozuna. There's also a question of his value going forward. It's easy to discount 2015 as a lost year but Ozuna's track record isn't long enough to give him a free pass and assume he'll revert to his 2014 ways. Ozuna is a tremendous talent but also a huge risk.
What do you think?