With the baseball season over, the baseball offseason is set to get underway.
Several big-name players across MLB will be free agents this winter. Cardinals left fielder Marcell Ozuna is among them.
After two seasons in St. Louis, the soon-to-be 29-year-old Ozuna is expected to test the free agent waters in the coming weeks. The first step toward that process will be to decline the $17.8 million qualifying offer for 2020. The Cardinals announced Monday they have extended the offer to Ozuna.
We have tendered a qualifying offer to free-agent OF Marcell Ozuna.Additionally, C Joe Hudson has elected to become a free-agent after being outrighted from the 40-man roster. pic.twitter.com/ZWr4RmLuOp— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) November 4, 2019
Though Ozuna has 10 days to decide whether he will accept or decline, the expectation is that he will decline the one-year offer in order to seek a longer contract in free agency.
In offering the QO to Ozuna, the Cardinals guarantee they will receive draft pick compensation in next year's MLB Draft from whichever team ultimately signs the power-hitting outfielder this winter.
Though anything is possible, it seems unlikely the Cardinals will pursue Ozuna with the kind of multi-year contract offer he will be seeking.
That will, of course, invite an interesting discussion regarding how the Cardinals will elect to fill the hole in their lineup after the likely departure of their cleanup hitter. Last season, Ozuna ranked second on the team in RBIs (89), third in home runs (29) and third in OPS (.800).