After signing autographs and meeting with the St. Louis Cardinals fanbase for the first time on Sunday, former Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna spoke openly for the first time about how he found out he was being traded.
Here’s how the two-time All-Star remembers it going down, according to multiple reports.
First, Ozuna said he was informed that the Marlins were trading him to the Oakland A’s, a team that has not made the playoffs since 2014 and has not won a playoff series since 2006.
“Well, God, please, leave me over here,” Ozuna remembered thinking.
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Shortly afterward, Ozuna found out the Marlins traded him to the Cardinals.
“OK. Thanks,” Ozuna said.
The change of heart is easily understandable. In the Cardinals, Ozuna is playing for a team that has had a winning record in 17 of the last 18 years and has only missed the playoffs six times since the turn of the century. That’s a far cry from what his former team has done. In Ozuna’s five years with the Marlins from 2013-2017, Miami has failed to finish with a winning record.
“I’m happy to play for [The Cardinals] because now you play for a reason,” Ozuna said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jose de Jesus Ortiz. “You play for a good team that (goes) to the playoffs and those kinds of things. That team fights every time to make the playoffs, and I like it.”
Ozuna’s final year with the Marlins was his best, posting career-high marks in batting average (.312), on-base percentage (.376), slugging (.548), hits (191), home runs (37) and RBI (124).
Ozuna is just one of the key pieces that new Marlins owner Derek Jeter traded away from the organization over the past six weeks in an attempt to slash payroll. League MVP Giancarlo Stanton and second baseman Dee Gordon are the others.
Outfielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto have expressed displeasure with the state of the team and have reportedly requested trades. So has infiedler Starlin Castro, who came to Miami as part of the Stanton trade.