The Miami Marlins traded another of their superstar outfielders on Wednesday, sending All-Star Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals. In doing so, we were given further perspective on just how much the Marlins mishandling of the Giancarlo Stanton situation cost them.
In exchange for Ozuna, the Marlins received an impressive quartet of prospects. Outfielder Magneuris Sierra and right-handed pitcher Sandy Alcantara are the centerpieces of the trade for Miami. They ranked as the Cardinals sixth and ninth best prospects respectively, according to MLB Pipeline. The Marlins also received right-hander Zac Gallen, who was the Cardinals No. 13 prospect, and left-hander Daniel Castano, who was the only player in the trade not ranked in St. Louis’ top 30 prospects.
It’s a huge haul fit for a player of Ozuna’s caliber. Over the last two seasons he’s established himself as a top tier outfielder, earning two All-Star selections, one Gold Glove and one Silver Slugger award. At the same time, it’s an undeniably bigger haul than what they received from the New York Yankees for Stanton, who was the reigning MVP after hitting a league-best 59 home runs.
Needless to say, that’s not how this is supposed to work.
In focusing on Stanton, it shows how much the Marlins desperation to rid themselves of his contract limited their options. If you’re going to trade an MVP who might just now be entering his prime, you’re supposed to convince the other team to sell the farm. His return could have and should have exceeded that of Ozuna’s. Instead, Miami settled on Starlin Castro, a former All-Star whom Miami will surely trade in due time, and two lower level prospects.
This isn’t just a chance to pile on Derek Jeter, though obviously his hands aren’t clean. It’s perhaps more of an indictment of the Marlins business practices under Jeffrey Loria’s ownership. It was that regime’s desperation to sign Stanton long-term and trot him out as their latest symbol of yet another farcical commitment to winning that led to a 13-year, $325 million agreement. Just as important in this process, it was their desperation to complete said deal that pushed them to give Stanton a full no-trade clause.
Both the money and the no-trade clause were destined to handcuff the franchise, regardless of who was calling the shots. That was the reality Jeter and his group walked into. They just decided that rather than trying to add to a core that had potential to win now, they were going to cut payroll significantly and reset the franchise. Their desperation to get out from under Stanton’s contract was the final piece that led to Stanton being traded for pennies on the dollar.
If the Marlins want to, they could at least pat themselves on the back for executing a fair trade for Ozuna. At the same time, they’ve shed even more light on everything they’ve done to undermine their fans and prevent themselves from running a relevant and competent organization.
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