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Marlins ready to go all in on building plan

With Stanton deal on heels of Gordon trade, Ozuna may be next piece moved
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With the trade sending National League MVP Award winner Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees announced on Monday, the Marlins are now positioned to go full steam ahead into their plan to build their organization from the bottom up.

The restructuring comes at a hefty price, as Miami parts with one of the most popular and productive players in franchise history. Stanton waived his no-trade clause to join New York.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With the trade sending National League MVP Award winner Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees announced on Monday, the Marlins are now positioned to go full steam ahead into their plan to build their organization from the bottom up.

The restructuring comes at a hefty price, as Miami parts with one of the most popular and productive players in franchise history. Stanton waived his no-trade clause to join New York.

The Marlins will receive second baseman Starlin Castro, Minor League right-hander Jorge Guzman, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as New York's No. 9 prospect, and infielder Jose Devers in return for the slugger. 

Stanton is the second major player traded by the Marlins leading into the Winter Meetings. Two-time All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon was dealt to the Mariners on Thursday for three prospects -- right-handers Nick Neidert and Robert Dugger and infielder Christopher Torres.

Seattle is picking up the remaining $38 million owed to Gordon over the next three seasons, while the Yankees will assume all but $30 million of the $295 million owed to Stanton over the next 10 years (assuming Stanton does not opt out following the 2020 season).

After Gordon was traded on Thursday, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill touched on the club's offseason objective.

Video: Return for Gordon includes pair of hurlers, shortstop

"We know where we're at, we need to get better," Hill said. "We need to add depth. We need to do things to give us an opportunity to build an organization that we feel can win consistently."

The Marlins have endured eight straight losing seasons, finishing 77-85 and 20 games behind the Nationals in the NL East in 2017, and 10 games off the pace for the second Wild Card spot.

Miami opened this past season with a payroll of $115 million, the highest in franchise history. Despite having a strong core of position players, the Marlins lacked pitching and organizational depth, prompting new ownership to move the team in another direction -- with payroll targeted for below $100 million.

By trading Stanton and Gordon, the Marlins have already done plenty of their heavy lifting before the Winter Meetings.

Still, more moves could follow -- and All-Star left fielder Marcell Ozuna moves to the top of the list.

The two players least likely to be dealt are center fielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto. Miami might listen to offers for right-hander Dan Straily, who is in arbitration -- but it would have to be an offer that overwhelmed the club to be completed.

Arbitration-eligible for two more seasons, Ozuna's salary projection, according to MLB Trade Rumors, is just under $11 million.

The Cardinals offer a potential match for the 27-year-old, who batted .312 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs in 2017. Miami just spent weeks in discussions with St. Louis regarding Stanton, and Ozuna would also fit its need for a power-hitting outfielder.

Video: ATL@MIA: Ozuna slugs 37th homer, dances with Gordon

St. Louis had the framework of a deal in place with Miami for Stanton, but he declined to waive his no-trade clause.

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In talks regarding Stanton, the Marlins had interest in Cardinals right-handers Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson and Sandy Alcantara, ranked third, eighth and ninth, respectively, on St. Louis' Top 30 prospects list, according to MLBPipeline.com. Any of them could be part of a possible package for Ozuna.

The Marlins also completed a Minor League trade with the Yankees this offseason, acquiring left-hander Caleb Smith and first baseman Garrett Cooper for right-hander Michael King and $250,000 of international bonus pool money.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Marcell Ozuna