The market for Marcell Ozuna is beginning to heat up.
The Cincinnati Reds are one of several teams showing interest in the free-agent outfielder, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. A pair of American League clubs in the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox are also eyeing Ozuna, a source told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Ozuna would provide a boost to a Cincinnati outfield that was a weak spot for the team in 2019. Reds outfielders combined for just 2.8 WAR last year, while their 94 wRC+ matched the output of the 103-loss Royals' outfielders. Top prospect Nick Senzel had a disappointing rookie season and underwent shoulder surgery in September.
Both the Rangers and White Sox are thought to be eyeing significant splashes this offseason, and Ozuna would certainly fit the bill for each club.
Chicago could use a slugger to add to its core of young talent and potentially replace the production of Jose Abreu if he departs in free agency.
Ozuna, a two-time All-Star, set career highs in walks (62) and stolen bases (12) while slashing .241/.328/.472 with 29 homers, 23 doubles, and 89 RBIs for the St. Louis Cardinals this past season. The 29-year-old also flashed a solid glove, tallying two defensive runs saved as a left fielder, and recorded nine hits in the playoffs.
He has until Thursday to decide whether or not to accept a $17.8-million qualifying offer from the Cardinals. Ozuna would be tied to draft-pick compensation if he declines the qualifying offer, and Heyman reports that he will turn the offer down.
The Cardinals would like to keep Ozuna and are reportedly discussing a multi-year deal with his camp.