Cardinals: Looking back at the terrible Marcell Ozuna trade

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 12: Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after striking out in the seventh inning of game two of the National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium on October 12, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 12: Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after striking out in the seventh inning of game two of the National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium on October 12, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Miami Marlins Sandy Alcantara
Starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara #22 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images) /

The Cardinals gave away the expected 2022 NL Cy Young

The center piece of the Ozuna trade was prospect Sandy Alcantara, and boy did he exceed expectations.

After establishing himself as a reliable, young arm in the Miami Marlins rotation from 2018-2021, Alcantara broke out in 2022, going 14-9 with a 2.28 ERA and 207 SO in 228.2 innings of work. Alcantara led all of baseball in innings pitched and complete games, showing that he is an elite pitcher who can be a workhorse like few are in today’s game.

For a team that desperately needs an “ace”, losing Alcantara in this deal is even more of a blow to St. Louis. It would be a blow to any team, but he is the perfect player for what the Cardinals need at the top of their rotation, and they let the now 26-year old slip away. One has to wonder if they could have put Alex Reyes in that trade instead.

To rub salt into the wound, the Marlins were able to get Alcantara signed to a 5-year, $55 million deal ahead of the 2022 season, making him not only one of the best pitchers in baseball, but now one of the best values in baseball, period.

The Cardinals front office are still licking their wounds after losing a player like this, and unfortunately, Alcantara is not the only Cy Young level starter St. Louis gave up in this trade.

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