Following another 0-for-3 performance in Sunday’s loss to the Cubs, the Marlins optioned outfielder Marcell Ozuna to Triple-A New Orleans. Ozuna was mired in a dreadful slump, going hitless in five consecutive games and in nine of his last 10 games.
It’s still a surprising move as Ozuna was their starting center fielder and has a still-salvageable .249/.301/.337 triple-slash line with four home runs and 26 RBI. Plus, it isn’t as if the Marlins have an obvious candidate to push into the outfield in Ozuna’s absence. Fourth outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has hit worse than Ozuna.
Justin Bour has been swinging a hot bat and the struggling Marlins likely want to keep his bat in the lineup. Michael Morse was activated from the disabled list and may see time in left field rather than at first base going forward.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon is reportedly open to a contract extension with the Nationals, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post said Sunday. Rendon told reporters that he didn’t know if agent Scott Boras would discuss an extension with the club, contrary to previous reports confirming the two had already started that conversation.
Rendon, 27, is coming off of his best career year to date. He finished the 2017 season batting .301/.403/.533 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI through 605 plate appearances, good enough to earn him sixth place in NL MVP voting. He made his third postseason appearance after helping Nationals through the National League Division Series, and contributed a pair of extra-base hits before the team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 5.
Rendon is still arbitration-eligible through 2019, but stands to receive a hefty payday once he enters free agency in 2020. While it stands to reason that the Nats would want to lock up a player who contributed a whopping 6.9 fWAR last year, making him the most valuable player on their roster, an extension appeals to Rendon as well. “Why not stay with one organization?” he said Sunday. The 2018 season will be his sixth with the team.