With new ownership in tow, the Miami Marlins are expected to slash payroll this winter. In an ideal Marlins-centric world, that would mean moving the contracts of Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Martin Prado. This is far from an ideal world, however, and it's conceivable the Marlins could instead have to trade Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna to fix their budget.
One surprising team who will be calling to check on the likelihood of that scenario? The Oakland Athletics. That according to a report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
One item on Oakland's wish list this winter is an outfielder with several years of team control remaining, sources told The Chronicle on Wednesday. And with Miami's new ownership looking to shed payroll, the A's have interest in Marcell Ozuna and, though their preference is for a right-handed hitter, possibly Christian Yelich.
As we've detailed in the past, both players are appealing due to their skill set and contractual situations. Yelich is locked to a team-friendly deal for the next four years, while Ozuna has two more seasons of cost control remaining before he hits free agency. Either would give the A's lineup a boost -- an A's lineup, which, for whatever it's worth, looks promising on paper.
The A's would seem closer to a .500 club than one who can realistically compete in 2018. Yet that's never stopped them from pushing forward in the past, and a few breaks here and upgrades there could theoretically place them within range of 85 wins -- the same amount the Minnesota Twins qualified with for this postseason.
Obviously the A's wouldn't be alone in pursuing Yelich or Ozuna, so there's no telling what their actual chances of landing either is -- nor is there any telling how likely it is that either of them are dealt. But it's a fun and interesting rumor, and that's what the offseason is mostly about.