St. Louis Cardinals: Marcell Ozuna and Cardinals avoid arbitration

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 02: Marcell Ozuna
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 02: Marcell Ozuna /

The St. Louis Cardinals and Marcell Ozuna avoid arbitration and agree to one year, $9 million contract.

The St. Louis Cardinals and outfielder Marcell Ozuna avoided arbitration and settled on a one-year $9 million contract.  This contract, along with contracts reached with Michael Wacha and Tyler Lyons, completes negotiations with all arbitration-eligible players.

Marcell Ozuna will be under the Cardinals’ control until the 2020 season.

The St. Louis Cardinals received Ozuna in a trade with the Miami Marlins in December.  The Cardinals sent prospects Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra, Zac Gallen, and Daniel Castano.

Before receiving Ozuna, the St. Louis Cardinals had been in pursuit of the Marlin’s Giancarlo  Stanton. However, Stanton rejected a trade to St. Louis and accepted a trade to the New York Yankees.

Therefore, the St. Louis Cardinals pivoted and proceeded to pursue Ozuna for their outfield.  Ozuna is expected to be the Cardinals’ opening day left fielder.  Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham are expected to join Ozuna in the outfield.

Marcell Ozuna will be one of the “big bat” solutions for the Cardinals coming into the 2018 season.  Ozuna’s 37 HRs, 124 RBIs, and .312 BA in 2017 were all career bests.  He is expected to hit in the third or fourth spot in the current Cardinal 2018 lineup.

The Cardinals are reportedly pursuing another bat for the middle of their lineup. Reports have them pursuing several players.  These include, free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, Toronto Blue Jay third baseman Josh Donaldson, and Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.

However, on Friday, Machado avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $16 million deal for 2018 that includes incentives.

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President of Baseball Operations, John Mozeliak, has been in the process of remaking the Cardinals roster for 2018 and beyond.  The trade of outfielder Stephen Piscotty to Oakland and prospect Magneuris Sierra to Miami is part of that process.  These trades created an opening for Ozuna in the 2018 Cardinal outfield.

Also, outfielders Randal Grichuk and prospect Harrison Bader are rumored to be pieces in future trades.

Marcell Ozuna, along with Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, and Jedd Gryko, are expected to make the St. Louis Cardinals 2018 lineup more potent.  However, many feel that for the Cardinals to return to playoff contention another “big bat”  is still needed.

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In conclusion, the St. Louis Cardinals need to continue to look for another “big bat.”  Marcell Ozuna can  now concentrate on the upcoming spring training.