Padres remain interested in Pirates’ outfielder Starling Marte

Credit: USA Today Sports

Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates are talking trade for outfielder Starling Marte.

As the MLB Winter Meetings come to a close in San Diego on Thursday, the San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been busy but hasn’t made a move yet.

It was reported Wednesday afternoon by MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman that the Padres have inquired about Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte.

Marte is under contract through 2020, with a team option for 2021. He is due $11.5 million in 2020 and would be owed $12.5 million in 2021. If the team would not like to keep Marte for 2021, there is a $2 million buyout. The contract surely fits the talent for the Padres.

Starling Marte stood out in 2019, exceeding his career totals in just about every offensive category.

The career .287/.341/.452 hitter tallied a slash line of .295/.342/.503 to go along with 23 home runs and 25 stolen bases in 2019. It is relatively easy to see why the San Diego Padres and other teams are targeting Marte. There are not a lot of outfielders who are available who can get on base consistently and pose a threat on the basepaths as he can.

His fielding, however, brings some concerns.

Marte was an outstanding left fielder but was moved to centerfield permanently following the departure Andrew McCutchen. In his six seasons in left, Marte had 82 DRS, 8 RTOT, a .979 FLD %, and 19 assists. In his eight seasons in center, he has -11 DRS, 28 RTOT, a .985 FLD %, and 12 assists. He seems to make more remarkable and run-saving plays in left, but holds his ground and makes fewer errors in centerfield.

2019 was his worst defensive year in the Majors. His -9 DRS, 8 RTOT, .984 FLD %, and eight assists were all career lows in centerfield. The San Diego Padres will likely play Marte in centerfield if acquired, because Grisham has experience in right field, and Pham and Myers are primarily left fielders. San Diego will hope to find a balance of multiple players in the outfield to start the 2020 season.

Given the depth that already exists in the outfield for the San Diego Padres, there will likely be an outfielder that is sent back to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Reports are that the Pirates covet a catcher. Austin Hedges is being rumored a possible fit for Pittsburgh. A prospect or two will be included in the potential deal to entice Pittsburgh. Starling Marte could be the final puzzle piece to the brand new look in the outfield green of Petco Park. He will not come cheap, though. The Padres have the talent to pay the asking price from the Pirates. Will they do it?

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Dominic Stearn on Twitter
Dominic Stearn
Dominic is currently a Sophomore at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, studying Sports Journalism. He was formerly a Staff Writer for Pulse Magazine, writing about the Padres, the MLB, and the NFL. He also hosts the "Devils Talking Padres" podcast.

9 thoughts on “Padres remain interested in Pirates’ outfielder Starling Marte

  1. On the whole, these moves have been appropriate for a team that intends to compete next year. A club can’t always make big free agent signings (there was never any chance the Padres were going to get Cole or Strasburg) or swing blockbuster trades.
    +They fired Green and that alone should be good for a couple of wins.
    +Then there is every reason to expect more from Richards and Lamet.
    +It’s probable Machado will have a better year.
    +Add in the small improvements made by replacing Renfroe and Myers with Pham and Grisham, the small upgrade of Davies over Lauer, and whatever Profar can do (just keeping Kinsler on the bench is worth it), and you have a team that will probably hover around .500.
    Adding Marte would improve the club some more, and so would adding Merrifield. These are the kind of deals GMs make, finding small added value wherever possible. Trading prospects for established players is exactly what teams do in this position. The key is to evaluate the prospects correctly. If Urias turns into another Robbie Alomar, that trade will look horrible, but if he busts and Grisham turns into a league average OF, then it will look great.
    Next step is either to trade Hosmer, or if that is not possible, then to trade Myers and continue to add good players.

    1. The trick is to find good additions that not only help for a year or two, but further down the line. I think that the roster changes also signify that last year wasn’t’t entirely Green’s fault. Trading for 2 years of Marte to be another corner outfielder like you point out may not be a great idea, especially if it comes at a high price.

  2. I know they’re trying to move Hedges. As good as he is with the pitchers, I’d let him work with our young staff rather than trade him. Since we traded our other catching prospect for squat, we need to figure out something else. Perhaps Margot, Margevicius, and a lower level prospect or two not in our top 25.

    Preller is too anxious to do deals to save his ass, I mean job. He’s overpaid on everything so far. No reason to believe anything else will be different. Fowler had to be important and open his mouth. It’s obvious Preller is on the hot seat. Don’t back him into a corner and threaten him. That equates to bad deals to win this season. Hell, include Profar to Pitt instead of a higher prospect. THEN, you can think about the KC trade too, without giving up the farm. 4 prospects outside the top guys plus Profar to take his place. Maybe we can dump Kinsler off and pay half his salary and keep our prospects!

    1. I agree on Hedges. Hedges is the perfect backup catcher and could be Paddack’s and Lamets personal catcher for 2020. I am ok with having Mejia/Hedges as my catching duo in 2020. The Pitcher ERA with Mejia was significantly higher than it was with Hedges. I also like Mejia’s bat and the fact that he is a switch hitter. I would include Torrens in a trade for Marte and sign a catcher to play in AAA as a backup in case of injury. Campusano and Hedges ultimately should be our catching tandem long term. Go with Mejia/Hedges for 2020 and 2021 and hopefully Mejia builds big value and the Padres trade him when Campusano is ready. Hedges would also be good to help develop Campusano when the time comes. I would also get Mejia’s bat in the lineup in the outfield on occasion. Adding Marte to the Padre Outfield is a good idea. I remember when JAPAN won the WBC with a roster full of speed and average power guys when it was held at PETCO Park.

  3. I would be alright with Hedges and a couple of mid level prospects for the age 31 and 32 seasons of Marte. Definitely not Campusano who was mentioned in an article on the Padres website.

  4. Why continue to aim at post-30, soon-to-decline, soon-to-be has-been players?

    These players would have been great 2 to 5 years ago. What if, in Preller’s debacle of 2015, he sought these players (e.g. Marte) instead of the other declining, soon-to-be has-been players?

    All of his targeted players ALL OF THEM are okay-ish, for now, and may help for just a bit. BUT they move the needle very little, at best. Yet, since he is soon to get fired for his repeated debacles, does he now have free reign to decimate the teams future?

    SOME ONE HAS TO STOP PRELLER BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There was hope, but he will likely kill it.

    1. Yes, all of Preller’s targeted players are “okay-ish” for now, because he doesn’t want his head to roll! Besides, these short-termers will be gone soon enough, lowering the payroll enough to afford to keep players like Tatis Jr. and Paddack long term, and keep winning with Gore and Patino improving the rotation. Call it Preller’s “Keep His Head From Rolling” strategy!

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Dominic Stearn on Twitter
Dominic Stearn
Dominic is currently a Sophomore at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, studying Sports Journalism. He was formerly a Staff Writer for Pulse Magazine, writing about the Padres, the MLB, and the NFL. He also hosts the "Devils Talking Padres" podcast.