Dave Dombrowski confirmed that the Boston Red Sox had conversations with the Miami Marlins about outfielder Marcell Ozuna but were not close on a deal.
Before the Miami Marlins shipped All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals, a conversation took place with the Boston Red Sox about a potential deal.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski confirmed at the Winter Meetings in Orlando that he discussed Ozuna with the Marlins but the teams never came close to making a deal.
The 27-year old outfielder would have been a great fit for the power-hungry Red Sox. He hit .312 with a .924 OPS and 37 home runs this year. His 142 wRC+ ranked 15th in the majors and his .388 wOBA was 16th.
Ozuna also won a Gold Glove for his outstanding defense in left field, so there’s little chance of convincing him of becoming a full-time DH. Boston already has arguably the best defensive outfield in baseball but they could have found room for Ozuna by rotating different players through the DH spot.
It’s clear why the Red Sox would be eager to pry Ozuna out of Miami but it appears the interest was rather one-sided. Dombrowski explained that they never came close to a trade because the Red Sox farm system lacks the pitching prospects Miami coveted.
Boston’s top pitching prospect, Jay Groome, ranks No. 43 overall on MLB.com’s prospect list. He would be a starting point in any package the Marlins could have asked for yet he apparently wasn’t enough. Or the Red Sox refused to include him, it’s unclear. Either way, the prospects Boston was willing to discuss didn’t entice the Marlins enough to prevent them from going in another direction.
We have yet to hear the details of the package St. Louis is sending to Miami for Ozuna but FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported that it includes pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara. MLB.com ranked him 9th in the Cardinals system and outside the top-100 overall.
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One would think that Groome has more value than Alcantara if he is indeed headlining the deal for the Cardinals. This suggests Boston was either unwilling to part with Groome or the Marlins value these prospects differently than these (and most) rankings do.
Another trade chip the Red Sox could have offered to a Marlins team looking for young pitching is Eduardo Rodriguez. He’s still only 24 years old, on an affordable arbitration salary and locked up until 2022.
We don’t know if the Red Sox would have offered him or if Miami was interested. E-Rod’s value is currently at an all-time low following knee surgery that may sideline him through the first two months of the 2018 season. A rebuilding Marlins team should be more concerned with his long-term value but given the recurring issues Rodriguez has had with his knee he may have been deemed too much of a risk to build a trade package around.
WIth Ozuna off the table, Dombrowski will turn back to free agency to find the power bat he craves. The Red Sox are still expected to meet with J.D. Martinez, who appears to be their top target. Eric Hosmer and Carlos Santana remain on their radar and we can’t rule out the possibility that Boston will splurge on two out of those three top free agent bats.
Dealin’ Dave can always be counted on to kick the tires on any available trade candidate but after his activity the last two offseasons there isn’t much left in the cupboard to offer.