The St. Louis Cardinals attempted to make a major upgrade in their outfield in 2017, only to have it become one of the worst trades in franchise history.
On December 13th, 2017, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired outfielder Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins for a package featuring pitching prospects Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, Daniel Castano, and outfielder Magneuris Sierra.
One look at that headline in 2022 tells you the Cardinals made a big mistake, but in 2017, it appeared to be an aggressive move by the Cardinals front office that fans around St. Louis welcomed from their decision makers.
Many people forget just how good Ozuna was before being traded to St. Louis. In his age-26 season for Miami, Ozuna slashed .312/.376/.548 with 37 HR and 124 RBIs. If the Cardinals were to add an outfield bat in their mid-twenties who hit like that during this offseason, fans would be throwing a party by Busch Stadium. Ozuna finished 15th in MVP voting that year, was an All-Star, Silver Slugger, and even won a Gold Glove.
At the time, no one would have predicted how poorly the move would go for St. Louis. The combination of what some of those prospects have become, the Cardinals clear need for front-end starters in 2022, and how the Ozuna era went in St. Louis is why this deal went so poorly. For a club that has received so much praise for the Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado trades, this one hurts.
Let’s take a look back at Ozuna’s time in St. Louis as well as how the players they dealt away have faired in their careers so far. Unforuntaely, it’s not a good look for the Cardinals.