The Cardinals pivoted to Marcell Ozuna in the Fish market known as the 2017-18 offseason when another Marlins outfielder, Giancarlo Stanton, made it clear he would not be waiving his no-trade clause to come to St. Louis. Dealing for Ozuna, who was coming off a splendid ’17 but had an iffy overall track record, was a bold bid for a Cardinals team in serious need of a middle-of-the-order presence, but Ozuna’s performance with the Cards in the time since can best be described as solid yet unremarkable.
With St. Louis swept out of the National League Championship Series by the Nationals and Ozuna entering free agency, it would be difficult to make a full-throated argument in favor of the Cardinals doing whatever it takes to bring Ozuna back, given his defensive concerns and less-than-stellar Cards career to date. And yet, Ozuna would be a really compelling free agent, perhaps the best full-time outfielder in free agencythis winter.
Let’s assess the market for the NL Central champions’ most notable free agent.