Let me apologize to you,
I agreed to write the next big Cardinals trade article because, frankly, I never expected them to actually make a move. Now here the Cardinals are ACTUALLY trading for all star players in their prime, and I’m basically stunned into silence. I don’t know what to say. The only evidence that I’m actually alive is that I keep mumbling “Ozuna” and looking like I have overdosed on Cialis. If you catch my drift, which, our new Gold Glove Left Fielder probably does.
Marcell Ozuna is a Cardinal, as first reported by Craig Mish (@craigmish) who really should consider running for mayor of St. Louis, because everybody loves that guy.
At this point in time, the only player we know the Cardinals traded in return is Sandy Alcantara, who was unlikely to ever hit 37 home runs in a season, so you have to believe that this is an offensive upgrade.
Marcell broke out in a big way in 2017 with a triple crown line of 37 homers, 124 RBI, and a .312 average. That was 14 home runs, 48 RBI, and 46 points of batting average higher than his previous season.
That means, if he keeps this up, we can reasonably expect him to hit 51 HRs, drive in 172, and bat .358. That would help the team a lot. Those are some serious Bo Hart numbers. You don’t even want to know what 2019 would look like.
Seriously though, that’s Ozuna. If you believe his 2017 season is close to the version of Ozuna we’ll see going forward, this is a Hell of a pickup. If you think any other year is Ozuna, then the Cardinals are still in need of a big bat.
Personally, I choose to be optimistic about this. I’m not sure there’s another choice. He’s a Cardinal now, I might as well have wild wet dreams about Ozuna completing his transformation into Jose Bautista 2.0.
"welcome to the family Ozuna"
At least there is evidence this is true.
His breakout season happened at age 26. That’s pretty usual, if a little late.
But his real breakout season could have happened at age 25-
2016 1st half: .307/.360/.533/.892
2016 2nd half: .209/.267/.342/.609
What happened?!? Well let me tell you.
OK, I don’t know what happened. I’ve read he just needed to make adjustments and be more consistent. But I’ll tell you one thing, this shows that 2017 didn’t come out of nowhere. He’s perfectly capable of mashing for real.
And yes, I could sabe you bro. The guy had a 142 wRC+. He had the highest walk rate of his career (something that’s been trending up). HE HAD 11 RUNS SAVED IN LEFT FIELD. His sPuJA+ was an off the charts 188. Yes, that’s a made up stat, but he was still really good at it.
In other words, we can all have our fears about paying for a player after a career year, and that’s always a legitimate fear, but there’s a lot of reasons to expect Ozuna will remain a star. This isn’t a 31 year old you’re buying for the downside of their career, this is a guy that’s a year and a half younger than Tommy Pham.
Alcantara could be a big time pitcher. He’ll be missed. But he was also the 9th ranked Cardinals prospect. The Cardinals have 5 top 100 prospects and Alcantara ain’t one of them. If Ozuna can produce, giving up Alcantara and lower ranked prospects is a worthy gamble.
In any case, Ozuna can say goodbye to Miami and say hello to the rabid Cardinals fan base. If he’s good, he’s going to find himself celebrated as a hero. If history is any indication, he’ll have the nickname “Mago de Oz.” Maybe he can hit bombs into “Big Marc Land.” He’ll be singing in pizza commercials in no time.
But be forewarned, if Marcell is a disappointment, well, he’s a pretty slow base runner. And twitter will eat him alive.