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Marlins trade Marcell Ozuna to Cardinals

Marcell Ozuna is headed to St. Louis after a breakout season with the Marlins.

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Cardinals have acquired outfielder Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. SiriusXM’s Craig Mish first reported the news on Wednesday. The deal is pending a physical. Headed to the Marlins in return are pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, and right-hander Zac Gallen, left-hander Daniel Castano, and outfielder Magneuris Sierra, as reported by the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer.

Ozuna, 27, had a spectacular 2017 season, posting a .312/.376/.548 slash line with 37 home runs and 124 RBI in 679 plate appearances. After playing primarily in center field for his first three full major-league seasons, Ozuna moved to left field in 2017 and saw his defensive metrics improve immensely, as he recorded an 11 defensive runs saved, a total that ranked first among NL left fielders. He made his second straight All-Star team and won his first Silver Slugger and Gold Glove.

Because he’s been somewhat inconsistent offensively and never reached the 30 home run mark before 2017, there’s skepticism about whether Ozuna will be somewhat of a one-year wonder, but the Cardinals obviously have faith that he can continue to approach that level of productivity and combine with Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham to form one of the best outfield trios in the National League.

Ozuna should provide a major boost to the Cardinals’ lineup, as his home run and RBI totals significantly exceed those of the Cardinals’ 2017 leaders (Paul DeJong with 25 homers and Yadier Molina with 82 RBI).

With the Marlins now having traded both Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton, they’ve got a gaping hole in their outfield, with only Christian Yelich remaining from last year’s starting group. That shouldn’t make much of a difference, however, for a Miami club that intends to tear down completely and engage in a long-term rebuild.

Sierra, 21, was ranked as St. Louis’ No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was surprisingly called up from High-A Palm Beach on May 5 and began his major-league career with an impressive nine-game hitting streak. He shuttled back and forth between the majors and Springfield for the final five months of the season, posting a .269/.313/.352 slash line with one homer over 353 plate appearances in Double-A while finishing with a .317/.359/.317 slash line over 64 big-league PAs. Sierra is considered to be an elite defensive center fielder and could be cast into that role sooner than later in Miami if Yelich is traded this offseason.

Alcantara, 22, was rated as the Cardinals’ No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline. The flame-throwing right-hander posted a 4.31 ERA and 1.43 WHIP over 25 appearances (22 starts) for Double-A Springfield, then came up and made his major-league debut in September, allowing a 4.32 ERA and 1.80 WHIP with 10 strikeouts and six walks over 8.1 innings of relief.

Gallen, 22, was listed as St. Louis’ No. 13 prospect by MLB Pipeline and is just a year and a half removed from being taken in the third round of the 2016 draft. In his first full professional season, he posted an impressive 2.93 ERA and 1.17 WHIP with 121 strikeouts and 35 walks over 26 starts (147.2 innings) split between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A.

Castano, 23, is the lottery ticket among the bunch, as he was a 19th-round pick out of Baylor in 2016 and was the only player not ranked among the Cardinals’ top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline. Over 14 starts at short-season State College in 2017, he posted a 2.57 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP, 81 strikeouts, and 13 walks in 91 innings.