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Free agent Marcela Ozuna reportedly prefers to return to the Arizona Cardinals.

Marcell Ozuna became a free agent for the first time in his career after declining a qualifying offer from the Cardinals this offseason, but it seems he may end back up in St. Louis.

The Cardinals and Rangers are reportedly the two front-runners to sign Ozuna, with his preference being to return to St. Louis, according to Neftalí Ruiz of Dominican news network CDN 37.

If the Cardinals do not bring back Ozuna, the team that does sign him will forfeit a draft pick as compensation because the outfielder declined the $17.8 million qualifying offer. By turning down the offer to remain in St. Louis and instead test free agency, Ozuna perhaps made it more likely that he re-signs with the Cardinals, because other teams might not want to lose the draft pick in addition to whatever salary they'd pay him.

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The Reds were also among the teams interested in Ozuna, but the team recently signed Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama, a move that could take Cincinnati out of the running.

Here are the other latest MLB rumors: 

  • Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antoinette is confident superstar Francisco Lindor will be their starting shortstop next season despite rumors that he could be traded. (Mandy Bell,
  • Pitcher Héctor Rondón is reportedly nearing a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Nick Pierco, The Arizona Republic)
  • The Brewers are signing manager Craig Counsell to a contract extension through 2023. (Robert Murray, The Athletic)