Mariners News: Seattle Interested in Marcell Ozuna


The Seattle Mariners are reportedly talking to the Miami Marlins about a potential trade involving Marcell Ozuna

Jerry Dipoto and his staff have been frantically trying to improve the Seattle Mariners this offseason. They have pulled off a couple trades for prominent players the past few weeks, and have inked a new catcher in recent days. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweeted out on Tuesday night that the M’s are “working on a trade” with the Miami Marlins for Marcell Ozuna.

Ozuna has reportedly fallen out of favor in Miami. This is due in large part to his famous agent, Scott Boras. The 25-year-old outfielder is still a year away from reaching arbitration, and will not hit the free agent market until 2020. Despite his immense upside, it is believed Miami will move Ozuna prior to the start of next season.

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The Dominican Republic native had a down year in 2015 with the fish. Ozuna posted a .259 batting average with 10 home runs and 44 RBI through 123 games. He registered a .308 on base percentage and slugged a mediocre .383 across 494 plate appearances. Ozuna only managed to record 0.4 wins above replacement this season.

Ozuna broke out in a  big way during the 2014 season. The young center fielder hit .269 with 23 home runs and 85 RBI across 153 games for the upstart Marlins. Ozuna posted a .317 on base percentage and slugged .455 through 612 plate appearances. His 164:41 strikeout to walk ratio was not ideal, but he did tally 257 total bases. Ozuna earned 4.5 wins above replacement during the 2014 season.

Across 346 games in the big leagues, Ozuna is hitting .265 with 36 home runs and 161 RBI. He has posted a .311 on base percentage and slugged .416 in 1,397 career plate appearances. Ozuna bats and throws from the right side.

Jun 10, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna (13) during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Ozuna may not be an elite outfielder defensively, but he would certainly be an upgrade for the Mariners. He has experience playing all three spots, but the bulk of his experience comes in center field. Ozuna has a .990 fielding percentage during his brief career, and has posted a stellar 2.44 range factor per 9 innings. He possesses a very strong throwing arm, as illustrated by his 23 outfield assists since 2013.

The experts at Baseball Reference and FanGraphs are both predicting a bounce back campaign for Ozuna in 2016. BR is projecting Ozuna will hit .269 with 14 home runs and 59 RBI through 508 plate appearances. FanGraphs believes he will hit .267 with 17 home runs with 66 RBI in 124 games.

It has been speculated that Miami is wanting young starting pitching in return for Ozuna. The Mariners are unwilling to move Taijuan Walker this winter, but James Paxton could potentially be available. However, it appears the Marlins prefer Mike Montgomery, Roenis Elias and Nate Karns.

Joe Frisaro of suggests that there could be more pieces involved in a potential trade. The notion that the Mariners could get Jose Fernandez or Giancarlo Stanton seems far-fetched to me. However, many fans in the Pacific Northwest are hoping to see Ichiro Suzuki included in the deal. Bringing Ichiro home to Seattle would sell plenty of tickets next season.

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The Mariners are thought to be seeking players with great on base skills. On the surface, Ozuna does not appear to fit that description. His .311 career OBP is solid, but he has worked just 84 walks in nearly 1,400 plate appearances. Ozuna is a free swinger, and that could lead to an inconsistent career. Dipoto is also looking to make the club more athletic. Despite playing center field, Ozuna is not much of a speed threat. He has just 10 stolen bases through his first three seasons.

However, Marcell Ozuna is a very young player and should be targeted by every team in the league. He has accomplished a lot through his first three seasons, and has All-Star potential. I think it would be a steal if the M’s can acquire Ozuna for Monty or Elias. Ozuna would look great playing next to Leonys Martin next season at Safeco Field.

Next: Mariners Hire Mike Hampton and Casey Candaele

It would be worth trading for Marcell Ozuna just so we can say the Wizard of Oz-una plays his home games in the Emerald City.