This Cardinals trade has aged horribly

The St. Louis Cardinals have not found success hard to come by but one trade in the past few years continues to look worse by the day. 

Over recent years especially, the St. Louis Cardinals have been no strangers to success. They’ve made the MLB postseason in each of the last three seasons and have been in the playoffs in eight of the last 11 years. That’s a high record of winning and making noise on a large scale dating back to winning the 2011 World Series.

Suffice it to say, the Cards have largely been a well-run organization. But even the best ballclubs have their misses over the year. And in baseball, that can be abundantly true when it comes to trades and looking back at them in hindsight.

Though there have been some trades — namely trading Randy Arozarena for Matt Liberatore — in 2020 that look bad now, the fate of Liberatore has yet to be determined. There is one trade, however, that has aged quite awfully over the past four seasons.

Cardinals trade for Marcell Ozuna has aged terribly

After the conclusion of the 2017 season and missing the playoffs, the Cardinals got aggressive and worked out a trade with the Miami Marlins for Marcell Ozuna, who was coming off an All-Star season in South Beach. In return, St. Louis sent back a package including outfielder Magneuris Sierra but, most importantly, pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen and Daniel Castano.

Regardless of Ozuna’s legal troubles with the Braves this past season, the fact of the matter is that the big-hitting outfielder never came close to living up to his 2017 season with the Marlins in the two seasons he suited up for the Cards.

The previous year before St. Louis traded for Ozuna, he slashed .312/.376/.548. In two seasons with the Cards in 2018-19, he dropped quite a bit with a slash over that time of .262/.327/.451 while averaging more than 30 fewer RBIs and 10 fewer home runs per year than he hit with Miami in 2017.

But what truly makes the trade look bad in hindsight is the performances of then-prospects Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen. The former was always expected to be a high-end player and he has more than lived up to that as one of the best young pitchers in the National League. However, Gallen was a guy who needed to just harness some elite stuff and it appears he’s been able to do that.

So for the Cardinals to give up two great pitching prospects that developed to reach their potential quickly for an outfielder who only played in St. Louis for two years and was pedestrian at best in that time, that’s not the best look for the organization.

This isn’t to condemn the St. Louis front office or anything like that — no one is batting 1.000 on trades in MLB. Having said that, when you look back at the Ozuna trade, it’s definitely a tough scene for the Cardinals.

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