St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals acquire Marlins’ Marcell Ozuna, more moves may be in the works

Five days after offseason prize Giancarlo Stanton refused a trade to St. Louis, the Cardinals have acquired another Miami Marlins slugger to add a deep-ball threat to the middle of their lineup.

Craig Mish of Sirius XM Radio in Miami and Bob Nightengale of USA Today were among the first of multiple national media outlets reporting that the Cardinals acquired outfielder Marcell Ozuna Wednesday.

In return, the Miami Herald reports, the Marlins will received minor-league outfielder Magneuris Sierra and pitching prospects Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen and Daniel Castano.

Other moves may be in the works, including a deal to move outfielder Stephen Piscotty to Oakland for relief pitchers and minor-league prospects.

Manager Mike Matheny also said Wednesday afternoon the team could be in the market for another big bat.

St. Louis is known to have made inquiries about the availability of Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson, Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria.

Wednesday, the Cardinals surfaced as a team said to have inquired about Baltimore Orioles third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado. The 24-year-old slugger is becomes a free agent after next season and could command a premium contract upward of $350 million.

The Cardinals showed interest in Ozuna even before a previous trade agreement with the Marlins fell through because Stanton exercised his no-trade authority.

Stanton, since traded to the Yankees, is the reigning National League Most Valuable Player thanks to his major-league best 59 home runs and 132 RBIs in 2017. Ozuna received MVP votes as well.

The 27-year-old outfielder had a breakout year with a .312 batting average, 37 home runs and 124 RBIs. He had a .376 on-base percentage, a .548 slugging average and an OPS of .924. All were career-bests.

Ozuna also won his first Gold Glove award in 2017.

Ozuna made $3.5 million in 2017 and is arbitration-eligible this offseason, projected to receive a bump to $11 million. He can be a free agent at the end of the 2019 season.

Both Ozuna and Stanton were made available under the Marlins’ new ownership group, which made public its intent to slash payroll and rebuild with younger, cost-controlled players. The Cardinals made a logical trade partner because of their organizational depth, outfield talent and new revenues tied to a billion-dollar television rights contract.

The Cardinals likely will have an outfield of Ozuna in left, Dexer Fowler in right and Tommy Pham, who also had a breakout season with a .306 average and 23 home runs, in center. That leaves Piscotty and Randal Grichuk as the odd men out.

According to SB Nation, Oakland is interested in dealing for Piscotty, who last year signed a six-year $33.5 million contract extension. After batting .273 with 22 home runs in 2016, the 26-year-old outfielder slumped to .235 with nine home runs in 107 games in 2017.

The Cardinals also remain in search of a closer. St. Louis has been connected to talks for Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome, who led the American League with 47 saves last season.

With Stanton and the remaining $295 million of his contract off the table, the Cardinals could pivot from Colome and make a bid for free-agent closer Wade Davis. Davis, 32, saved 32 games in his only season with the Chicago Cubs and was paid $10 million.

Closer Juan Nicasio, acquired after the trade deadline last season, was signed by the Seattle Mariners Wednesday.

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