The Cincinnati Reds are not done yet. The latest Reds rumors suggest that the front office is still focused on adding outfielder Marcell Ozuna.
Despite reportedly coming to terms with Shogo Akiyama on a three-year deal, the Cincinnati Reds are not yet done adding to their outfield mix. While most fans, myself included, assumed that adding Akiyama would be the end of Cincinnati’s free agent shopping, the latest Reds rumors suggest that the front office is still looking to secure Marcell Ozuna.
According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers are among the frontrunners for the Ozuna’s services. After rejecting the Cards qualifying offer earlier this offseason, Ozuna became a free agent. However, barring Ozuna’s return to to St. Louis, the receiving team must sacrifice a draft pick in order to sign the outfielder.
This isn’t the first, nor the second time we’ve heard Ozuna’s name linked to the Queen City. He, along with Nicholas Castellanos, Kole Calhoun, and Corey Dickerson have all been rumored to have piqued the interest of Cincinnati’s front office. Castellanos appears to be off the team’s radar, and Calhoun and Dickerson have already agreed to free agent deals with other teams.
Just this past week, the Reds reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama for $20M-plus. According to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, Cincinnati views Akiyama as a table setter who can hit atop the lineup and play all over the outfield.
Ozuna is a different player entirely. The two-time All-Star brings power from the right side and, if signed by the Reds, would likely find a home in left field. The past two seasons, Ozuna has been the Cardinals primary left fielder, slashing .263/.327/.452 with 52 home runs and 177 RBIs. Ozuna made back-to-back trips to the All-Star Game while playing in Miami from 2016-2017.
The latest Reds rumors suggest two things; Cincinnati is not yet satisfied with their lineup heading into the 2020 season, and no one in the outfield is guaranteed a starting spot on next year’s roster. Signing Ozuna and Akiyama would fill two of the three outfield spot, leaving fans to question the future of players like Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, and Josh VanMeter,
Marcell Ozuna will take home a hefty paycheck regardless of where he signs. Projected by MLB Trade Rumors, to sign a three-year/$45M contract, Ozuna’s market has likely gone up and the slugger has been rumored to be looking for a five-year deal.
The fact that the Reds are still after Ozuna is interesting to say the least. Cincinnati’s signing of Akiyama earlier this week has not deterred the front office from going after some big fish. Perhaps the Reds have some bigger ideas on the horizon.