Once viewed as a key component of an emerging franchise, Marcell Ozuna may be on his way out of Miami.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick got the ball rolling on the Ozuna rumors Tuesday, reporting the Seattle Mariners were working on a deal to acquire Ozuna with the Marlins seeking young controllable pitching in return.
A straight deal could hinge on whether the Marlins would be interested in Roenis Elias or Nathan Karns, since Taijuan Walker is likely off the table. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, however, says the Marlins may covet Walker, so the teams could look to complete a blockbuster deal that involve more than just Ozuna for a starting pitcher.
“Ozuna has 30 HR power. Doubt seriously this is about moving him straight up for Roenis Elias,” Frisaro tweets.
Ozuna clearly has fallen out of favor with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. The 25-year-old was critical of Marlins’ management following a demotion to the minors in July and hit .259/.308/.383 in 123 big league games last season. Yet Ozuna did hit .278/.320/.469 following his recall in mid-August and has the potential of providing a power bat that many teams covet.
It already has been a busy offseason in Seattle, and ESPN’s Jim Bowden says the Mariners are trending upward. “Dipoto has made the team more athletic in the outfield with his acquisitions of Leonys Martin and Boog Powell, improved the infield depth with the trade for shortstop Luis Sardinas, improved the back of the bullpen when he got Joaquin Benoit from the Padres and added important starting pitching depth when he landed Nate Karns from the Rays."
Our rumors roundup continues with more speculation out of Seattle, where Dipoto may end up as this winter’s version of A.J. Preller, but hopefully with better results:
Mark Trumbo: Rival executives say they expect the Mariners to deal Trumbo, Crasnick reported Tuesday. It would mark the third team in less than a year for Trumbo, who hit a combined .262/.310/.449 for the D-backs and Mariners last season. Crasnick notes Trumbo could make around $9 million in arbitration next season, which would be too pricey for Dipoto.
New York Yankees: When reports this week claimed Robinson Cano might be unhappy in Seattle, the first question was whether the second baseman could return to the Bronx. Not so fast, says Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, who reports many in the baseball industry believe the Yankees will stand pat and go with the platoon of Dustin Ackley and Robert Refsnyder. The Yankees finished 2015 with Refsnyder and Ackley starting 22 games over the final month of the season, and the pair hit a combined .325.
Ivan Nova: The Yankees have let it be known that Nova is available, but there are no intentions to sell low on the right-hander, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees want a starter with several years of control and Nova, a free agent after next season, “could be part of the package to give the trading team a starter to plug into their rotation for 2016.”
Chris Carter: The Astros have eight players eligible for arbitration this winter, and Carter, who hit .199 last season with 24 homers, is the most likely of the bunch to be non-tendered, says Brian McTaggert of MLB.com. If the Astros part ways with Carter, first base prospect A.J. Reed will be given a chance in spring training. Luis Valbuena is also an option at first.
John Lackey: The San Francisco Giants are among the teams interested in the free agent right-hander, tweets Ken Rosenthal. The 37-year-old Lackey won 13 games for the Cardinals last season and pitched 218 innings, the first time since 2010 he topped the 200 plateau.
Mike Zunino: The future of Zunino in Seattle is in question after the Mariners signed Chris Iannetta to a one-year contract. Iannetta will have a chance to be a No. 1 catcher even though he hit .188 last season, a full .043 points below his career average. Once an elite prospect, Zunino owns a .193/.230/.300 in two-plus seasons in Seattle.
Tim Lincecum: The 31-year-old free agent is recovering well from September hip surgery and hopes to hold a showcase event for interested teams in January, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The two-time Cy Young Award winner could be an intriguing wild card in the free-agent pitching market, especially for clubs unwilling to pay big bucks for an upper-tier guy such as Price.
Joe Mauer: Many Twins fans have been calling for manager Paul Molitor to drop Mauer down in the batting order after the franchise icon hit just .265, the lowest in his career by 22 points. Phil Miller of the Star Tribune, however, reports Molitor still plans to keep Mauer higher in the lineup, even if the Twins work out a deal with Byung-Ho Park.