While reports indicated that New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had been scouring the market for potential trade partners regarding pitchers, it was certainly a surprise to see outfielder Marcell Ozunaâ€™s name pop up in connection with the Bombers.
Recently, Cincinnati Reds star Luis Castillo and Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jameson Taillon have both been connected to the Yankees, but adding Ozuna to the list throws a wrench into our expectations. The outfield seems to be settled for the Yankees, with the exception of Brett Gardner potentially returning on a one-year deal.
However, the expectation was that Clint Frazier would be a regular starter moving forward, and with Ozuna seeking a four-year deal, according to Hector Gomez of Z Deportes, Cashman might just be meddling in exterior business.
SOURCE: Marcell Ozuna is seeking a 4-year and up multi-year contract. Six teams have shown interest:
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) January 22, 2021
While the Yankees did sign Corey Kluber to a one year, $11 million deal, they still need pitching support in the starting rotation. Ultimately, relying on a bevy of pitchers who havenâ€™t performed in quite some time isnâ€™t a recipe for success, which is why Cashman continues to float trade opportunities to teams who might be looking to add prospects. The Yanks do have a few trade(able) pieces that can help start right away for other clubs, including Miguel Andujar.
What would Ozuna bring to the New York Yankees?
Nonetheless, circling back to Ozuna, who played in just 60 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2020 â€” he could be a fantastic addition to the outfield. Their interest in Ozuna could also indicate Frazier being a potential trade piece for a pitcher.
Over 60 games last season, Ozuna posted a .338 batting average with 18 homers and 56 RBIs. He earned a career-high 14.2% walk rate but did struggle defensively. He played 39 games in the designated hitter spot and 19 in left field, where Frazier would likely feature.
It is interesting to see the Yankees inquire about the free-agent outfielder, especially in left field. However, it seems as if he is doomed to a life at DH in the future, and the Yankees already have one monster slugger in Giancarlo Stanton who canâ€™t play defense anymore due to injury.
I feel as though Cashman might just be keeping tabs on Ozuna unless he has a master plan involving trading away Frazier and opting for a more offensive focused player in Ozuna with the idea of sacrificing his defense of issues for power in the batterâ€™s box.