The St. Louis Cardinals didn’t get the Miami Marlins slugger on which they had originally set their sights, but in acquiring outfielder Marcell Ozuna on Wednesday, they still landed a big fish.
The team made its trade for the slugger official Thursday afternoon. He will fill a primary need for a power bat identified early in the offseason by Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak.
Ozuna set career-highs with a .312 average, 37 home runs, 124 RBIs and a .924 OPS in 2017, which warranted him mention on a few National League MVP ballots.
But lineup-altering acquisitions come at a price.
Besides paying an $11 million annual salary that Ozuna will likely be awarded through arbitration, the Cardinals will also part with talent from their deep stable of young outfielders and pitchers.
Here’s what Ozuna cost the Cardinals:
Sandy Alcantara, right-handed pitcher
Alcantara made his major-league debut as a September call-up, pitching an unremarkable 8.1 innings. He surrendered a home run to the first big-league batter he faced.
Still, Alcantara, 22, ranked as the Cardinals’ ninth-best prospect and was highly coveted by the Marlins during negotiations for Giancarlo Stanton, who vetoed the deal.
He’s long and lanky at 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds, but he has topped 100 mph with his fastball. In four minor-league seasons, he has a 17-29 record and 3.95 ERA.
Magneuris Sierra, outfielder
At 21, Sierra was the youngest Cardinals position player since Albert Pujols to make his major-league debut. It came as something as a surprise, too, since the Cardinals promoted him in May directly from Double-A Springfield.
But Sierra impressed in the short time he was in St. Louis, batting .317 in 60 at-bats. He hit safely in his first nine games, beating the team record set by Homer Smoot in 1902. Four of the speedy Sierra’s 19 hits were infield singles.
His best minor-league season was in 2016, when he batted .307 with 36 extra-base hits and 78 runs scored in 122 games in Single-A.
Baseball America rated him the Cardinals’ sixth-best prospect.
Zac Gallen, right-handed pitcher
Gallen, 21, the Cardinals 13th-rated prospect, made rapid ascent through the Cardinals system in 2017, starting in High-A Palm Beach and landing in Triple-A Memphis.
In total, he posted a 10-8 record with a 2.93 ERA and struck out 121 in 147.2 innings pitched. Almost half of those innings were in Double-A Springfield, where he was 4-5 with a 3.79 ERA.
He was the Cardinals’ third-round pick (No. 106 overall) out of North Carolina in 2016.
Daniel Castano, left-handed pitcher
The 6-4, 230-pound lefty was drafted in the 19th round of the 2016 draft out of Baylor. He has since spent his time in Class A.
In his first full season at High-A State College of the New York-Penn League, Castano went 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 91 innings. All of his appearances were starts.
Castano was a throw-in on the deal; his upside is as an innings-eater out of the bullpen. Or, as CBS Sports RJ Anderson describes him, “he’s roster fodder at this point.”