8:28pm: The Rangers and Marlins have been discussing Ozuna on and off for about a month, but talks have never advanced very far, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (links to Twitter). Rosenthal notes that the Rangers are still looking to add pitching depth — Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes the same, calling an Ozuna swap unlikely — therefore making it difficult to part with Gonzalez in a deal. While Texas could theoretically sign another starter and then part with Gonzalez in an Ozuna trade, the team lacks the financial flexibility to increase payroll, Rosenthal hears, which would make a notable signing for the rotation improbable.
3:35pm: Talks have indeed involved Gonzalez and “perhaps another piece,” Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweets.
2:02pm: Ozuna’s market is “moving fast,” Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. Miami has spoken with “multiple clubs” about him, including one team located on the West Coast.
The team is “listening” but doesn’t feel compelled to reach a deal, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes, adding that as many as 10 teams expressed interest in Ozuna back at the Winter Meetings in Nashville in early December. If the Marlins deal him away, they would utilize Christian Yelich in center and platoon Derek Dietrich with a right-handed hitter in left, Frisaro reports on Twitter.
1:27pm: The Rangers are holding trade discussions with the Marlins about center fielder Marcell Ozuna, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). But, he adds, Miami is still placing a hefty tag on the youngster and a deal between the sides “may be [a] longshot.”
It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard anything on Ozuna, who was a popular topic of discussion during the Winter Meetings. Last we checked in, it seemed that the Marlins could be more likely than ever to hold onto him, as trade partners were not inclined to meet the steep ask.
The 25-year-old emerged as a major trade topic after numerous reports suggested that he had fallen out of favor with Miami owner Jeffrey Loria. He struggled early last year, but raked in a brief Triple-A stint and bounced back nicely in the second half.
The Fish are said to be looking for a promising young starter in return. It’s not clear what names have come up in talks with Texas, but it’s certainly plausible to imagine players like Nick Martinez and Chi Chi Gonzalez being discussed. Of course, it’s also possible to imagine the involvement of some of the Rangers’ young pen arms — and any number of other assets — if Miami is willing to consider alternatives.
For the Rangers, center field isn’t exactly a strong need. After all, the team enjoyed a surprising campaign from Rule 5 pick Delino DeShields Jr. last year. But he’s hardly a sure thing, the lineup still trends left-handed, and Ozuna would add a youthful, high-upside component to the Texas outfield mix.