Miami Marlins

First Giancarlo Stanton, now Marcell Ozuna traded. And Marlins are called ‘a pawn shop’

Marlins left fielder Marcell Ozuna (13), center fielder Christian Yelich (21) and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27), left to right, take a break during a pitching change as the Marlins host the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017.
Marlins left fielder Marcell Ozuna (13), center fielder Christian Yelich (21) and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27), left to right, take a break during a pitching change as the Marlins host the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. adiaz@miamiherald.com

And then there was one.

Two days after trading Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins worked out a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals to do the same with Marcell Ozuna, leaving Christian Yelich as the lone man standing in what ranked as the best outfield in the Majors.

And even Yelich might not be long for Miami as the Marlins go about shredding their roster in a massive rebuild that portends years of more losing.

“We’ve seen one of our major league jewelry stores become a pawn shop,” player agent Scott Boras, who represents Ozuna, said Wednesday.

The Marlins on Wednesday agreed to send Ozuna to the Cardinals for pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara, minor-league outfielder Magneuris Sierra, and two other prospects — right-hander Zac Gallen and lefty Daniel Castano — a source said.

The deal is contingent on the completion of physicals and has not been announced by either team.

The Marlins and Cardinals had been engaged in trade discussions for weeks involving Stanton.

But when Stanton was traded to the Yankees after exercising his no-trade clause and vetoing a deal to St. Louis, the Cardinals turned their attention to one of the Marlins’ other All-Star outfielders, Ozuna.

The Marlins, who traded second baseman Dee Gordon to Seattle last week, have now lost three of the top four hitters from last year’s batting order in a span of only six days.

They series of trades have netted the Marlins a cost savings of $37.5 million in 2018 payroll, bringing them closer to their target of about $90 million.

They would still need to unload one or more contracts to reach that goal.

Miami Marlins' Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman discuss their vision for the future of the franchise on Tuesday, October 3, 2017.

The deals are also bringing the Marlins closer to their goal of rebuilding the organization “from the bottom up.”

Alcantara, a hard-throwing right-hander, has a “big arm” and projects to be a No. 2 starter, said one National League scout. But he is still about a year away from the majors.

The 22-year-old Dominican’s fastball can hit 100 mph but he needs to smooth out his delivery, the scout said.

“He’s going to have one of the highest fastball averages in baseball,” the scout said. “But he has to iron out a couple of things with his delivery.”

Alcantara, who is ranked as the Cardinals’ No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has gone 17-29 with a 3.95 ERA in four minor league seasons, with 365 strikeouts and 152 walks in a total of 369 innings. He appeared in eight games -- all in relief -- for the Cardinals in September.

Sierra, the team’s No. 6 prospect, has exceptional speed and can play all three outfield positions. He’s hit .292 with 98 stolen bases in five minor-league seasons. In 60 at bats last season with the Cardinals, he hit .317 with no homers.

Gallen went 10-8 with a 2.93 ERA overall last season while pitching at the Single, Double and Triple A levels in the Cardinals’ farm system. Castano pitched in the low minors.

It’s uncertain what moves the Marlins will make next. The Marlins are listening to offers on Yelich. But it’s unclear whether they intend to trade him, as they’ve done others, or hold on to him.

Sources said Yelich is unhappy with the direction the team is headed and may speak to the front office in the coming days to gain more clarity.

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