Red Sox Explored Marcell Ozuna Trade Before Marlins-Cardinals Deal

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Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna

Photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images

The Boston Red Sox at least are doing their homework.

Boston has been quiet at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings, but Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski confirmed to reporters Wednesday that the team spoke with the Miami Marlins about Marcell Ozuna before the Fish traded the All-Star outfielder to the St. Louis Cardinals.

According to Dombrowski, the Red Sox never were close to trading for Ozuna, which makes sense given Boston’s lack of high-end pitching prospects relative to St. Louis’ stash of arms. It’s still interesting to hear the Red Sox explored the possibility, though, as it suggests the team is staying open-minded in its quest to land a middle-of-the-order bat, even if free agent J.D. Martinez is Boston’s primary target as some have speculated.

It’s fair to wonder how the Red Sox would have deployed Ozuna, who has experience at all three outfield spots but played primarily left field in 2017. The Red Sox already have three talented outfielders — Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. — under team control, and Dombrowski, as well as agent Scott Boras, shot down the rumor that Boston was shopping Bradley.

But the Red Sox have an opening at designated hitter, and it could come into play with whoever they acquire this offseason. That would have included Ozuna, who’s coming off a season in which he hit .312 with 37 home runs, 124 RBIs and a .924 OPS while earning his second straight All-Star nod.

The Ozuna trade comes amid a firesale by the Marlins, who also traded reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton and second baseman Dee Gordon in recent days.

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