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MLB rumors: Cardinals may pursue Marlins' Marcell Ozuna

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The Cardinals need an impactful hitter, and Marcell Ozuna may be the man they’re looking for.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports, the Miami Marlins will be listening to offers for everyone on their roster in advance of this year’s trade deadline, and the St. Louis Cardinals might be a team that pursues left fielder Marcell Ozuna.

Despite the fact that Ozuna has moved to left field this season after spending the past three years as the Marlins’ primary center fielder, he has retained his value as one of the National League’s premier offensive outfielders. The 26-year-old has posted a .329/.392/.569 slash line with 14 homers in his first 240 plate appearances, doing his best to improve on a 2016 first half during which he hit .307/.360/.533 with 17 homers in 353 plate appearances and started for the NL in the All-Star Game.

Ozuna, 26, is one of the best values in baseball, as he’s making just $3.5 million this season and has two more seasons of arbitration remaining before he becomes a free agent following the 2019 campaign. For that reason, the Marlins could command multiple major-league players or a boatload of prospects in exchange for their left fielder.

It’s uncertain whether Ozuna would fit better in left or right field if the Cardinals were to acquire him, but it’s an absolute certainty that they could use his bat in the middle of their lineup. While the Cardinals are doing a decent job of getting on base this season, they rank 11th among NL teams in OPS (.722) and 14th in home runs (55).

Ozuna could take over in left if Tommy Pham, who has a .913 OPS through 105 plate appearances this season, cools down, or he could also supplant Stephen Piscotty continues to struggle.

The Cardinals definitely have enough young players to pull off a deal, though it’s a mystery as to whether GM John Mozeliak would be willing to part with multiple premium prospects during a season in which St. Louis might not compete for a playoff spot. According to MLB Pipeline’s rankings, the Cardinals have the top pitching (Alex Reyes) and catching (Carson Kelly) prospects in baseball. Right-handers Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty and shortstop Delvin Perez also rank among the league’s top 100 prospects.