Detroit Tigers potential free agent target: Marcell Ozuna

Detroit Tigers, Marcell Ozuna (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Detroit Tigers, Marcell Ozuna (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

If the Detroit Tigers want to take a big step forward in their rebuilding process, they could consider signing free agent Marcell Ozuna.

Back prior to the 2004 season, as the Detroit Tigers were coming off a 119-loss campaign, the team signed Ivan Rodriguez as a free agent. A lot of people thought both sides were crazy. Why would Pudge, coming off a World Series victory with the Marlins, sign in Detroit? And why would the Tigers do that, seemingly so far away from contention?

Three years later, the Tigers were American League Champions. I’ve felt all offseason that the Tigers need to make a big free agent splash this winter, even if they think they are still a year away from contention, in order to speed up the process and to help make Detroit a more attractive place to play.

Who could that free agent potentially be? J.T. Realmuto would be an obvious choice, as the team has a big need at catcher. However, here we are going to focus on another big free agent this winter in Marcell Ozuna.

Ozuna, 30, is coming off a monster year with the Atlanta Braves in which he led the league in plate appearances (267), home runs (18), RBIs (56), and total bases (145). Oh, and he also batted .338. He’s been an All-Star twice and won a Silver Slugger Award twice. MLB Trade Rumors has projected that he’ll get a four-year, $72 million deal. Meanwhile, unlike last year when he took a one-year deal, he is unburdened by a qualifying offer.

Given that the Tigers could use some outfield help, Ozuna would seemingly be a great fit. He did win a Gold Glove Award with the Miami Marlins back in 2017, though the Braves used him primarily as a designated hitter in 2020. His best defensive days may be behind him, but he could still slot into left field for the Tigers and play passable defense.

Some might think that the Tigers aren’t ready to contend yet and should stay away from the temptation to get into big-name free agent signings as we look towards 2021. In fact, Bleacher Report has said that there is “not a chance” that the Tigers will sign Ozuna. If the team wants to play it safe, then they will avoid big free agents such as this.

However, if they want to take a big step forward, signing Ozuna would do just that. What do you think? Should the team try to sign Marcell Ozuna, or is it too soon? Let us know!

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