MIAMI -- With Giancarlo Stanton trade rumors at the forefront, speculation is quietly simmering on where Marcell Ozuna may wind up next year.For now, the Marlins haven't actively been shopping Ozuna, their 27-year-old All-Star left fielder who won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award in 2017. That could change
MIAMI -- With Giancarlo Stanton trade rumors at the forefront, speculation is quietly simmering on where Marcell Ozuna may wind up next year.
For now, the Marlins haven't actively been shopping Ozuna, their 27-year-old All-Star left fielder who won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award in 2017. That could change once Stanton's situation is resolved.
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Ozuna, who is arbitration eligible, isn't eligible for free agency until 2020, so Miami has no urgency to make a trade. Ozuna had one of the best individual seasons in Marlins history in 2017, batting .312 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs. The big year will land him a hefty payday, with projections indicating he could make about $11 million in arbitration.
The Cardinals and Giants, both interested in Stanton but not on his reported list of teams he would waive his no-trade clause for, also could pursue Ozuna as a fallback plan. St. Louis released a statement on Friday saying Stanton declined the chance to play for the club. At this point, the Marlins have prioritized trade talks for Stanton, before opening the lines on Ozuna.
At the General Managers Meetings last month, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill noted the club is committed to building a strong, sustainable foundation, adding that trades will develop at their own pace.
"There's no timeline on how we do that," Hill said. "We know the steps that we need to take in order to do that, and that is what we're in the process of building. We're trying to build a sustainable, consistent, productive Major League organization."
That remains the club stance with the Winter Meetings set to begin on Monday in Lake Buena Vista.
MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi had reported the Giants and Cardinals each agreed on frameworks for deals for Stanton. The Dodgers remain interested, and there could be additional clubs that have not yet been disclosed.
Complicating a potential Stanton trade is the fact the slugger has a full no-trade clause and an opt-out in 2020. His salary is set to jump to $25 million in '18, with a total of $295 million remaining over the final 10 years of his contract.
If the Stanton saga drags into the Winter Meetings, it could signal more clubs are involved.
And what if Stanton decides to decline the trade offers presented and says he wants to return to the Marlins next year? That scenario would likely increase the chances Ozuna is traded, but that could come perhaps after the Winter Meetings, depending on when there is finality regarding Stanton.
Of Miami's three starting outfielders, Christian Yelich is the most likely to stay. Chances are, the club could keep two -- a combination of Stanton and Yelich or Ozuna and Yelich.
But Ozuna also could be the Marlins' best trade piece to acquire a front-line, controllable starting pitcher. Even if Stanton is traded, offers may be too tempting to pass up for Ozuna.
The Cardinals also could be open to adding either outfielders Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty as part of a package for Ozuna.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.